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Officials profit from hazard certificates

TWO land officials in southern China have been suspended for profiting from issuing fake geological hazard certificates.

On Monday disciplinary supervisors in Guangdong Province's capital Guangzhou launched an investigation into the officials, surnamed Luo and Huang, from the Guangzhou Geological Survey, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported yesterday.

Luo and Huang are alleged to have charged undercover reporters from the newspaper 25,000 yuan (US$3,660) to issue a certificate saying an apparently safe hill in Dashi Town of Guangzhou's Panyu City was geologically dangerous.

The certificate is a license to excavate earth, which could reap 200 yuan a truckload.

Normally, the certificate would be issued to cover areas of geological hazards, such as landslides, according to a spokesperson with the Guangzhou Land Resources and Housing Administration.

The certificates should be issued to government departments instead of enterprises or individuals, and for no charge, he told the newspaper.


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