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January 15, 2010

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Senior judge faces trial over graft, 'decadence'

THE former deputy head of China's Supreme People's Court went on trial yesterday to face corruption charges.

Huang Songyou, 53, is the highest-ranking judge to face trial in the nation, China News Service reported.

He is facing the Intermediate People's Court in north China's Hebei Province.

Police investigations into Huang found that he allegedly took bribes of 3.9 million yuan (US$574,000) from 2005 to 2008 when he served as vice president of the Supreme People's Court.

He was also accused of embezzling 1.2 million yuan in 1997 when he was president of Zhanjiang Intermediate People's Court in south China's Guangdong Province.

Four former officials at the Supreme Court have also been implicated in Huang's case.

One, Li Jun, who worked in Guangdong Higher People's Court, was jailed for three years, the Beijing-based Economic Observer reported.

The country's disciplinary authority said Huang led "a lavish and decadent life."

In previous media reports he was labelled a "sex-hungry judge" who had "a special interest in underage girls."

Huang, of Guangdong Province, was removed from his post as vice president of the Supreme People's Court in 2008 after he was placed on double-designation status as a result of an investigation into his disciplinary violations.

Double designation requires Party or government officials to explain alleged crimes or disciplinary violations at a set place and time.

Also yesterday, the Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court in Guangdong's capital convened a meeting to examine deals involving Zhongcheng Square, China's largest incomplete building.

The auction process for the building in 2002 was under question and implicated Huang, Southern Metropolis Daily reported yesterday.

Huang served for a longperiod in Guangdong Province's courts.

His friend, Yang Xiancai, a judge in Guangdong's Higher People's Court, was sacked in 2008 for graft. Yang had been in charge of bidding for Zhongcheng Square.

A statement by the Supreme People's Procuratorate released in 2009 said corruption cases in China's judicial system accounted for a fifth of the overall national total.

No decision was reached on Huang in Hebei yesterday.


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