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Official sacked for luxury life
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A housing department director in Jiangsu Province has been sacked for his luxurious lifestyle, which included smoking a brand of cigarettes costing at least 1,500 yuan (US$221) a carton.

Zhou Jiugen, 48, former director of the housing management department of the provincial capital Nanjing's Jiangning District, had been photographed wearing a Vacheron Constantin watch and smoking Nanjing 95 Imperial cigarettes, according to The Beijing News.

The report said another reason leading to his dismissal was Zhou's statement to the media that real estate developers should be punished for selling apartments below cost. This inflamed debate among buyers who had already been complaining about soaring house prices.

Zhou's watch cost at least 100,000 yuan. Jiangning district officials said further investigation would be undertaken into other matters of public complaint concerning Zhou.

The district has also started to investigate other officials caught receiving cash, shopping cards or other goods from companies as Spring Festival gifts.

A recently published gift list from Nanjing Lucky Toy Products Co showed the company had sent 144,800 yuan worth of goods to some officials in Jiangning District during last year's Spring Festival, the report said.

The Communist Party of China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection told officials across China to be wary of corruption during the Spring Festival holidays, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday. Feasts, sightseeing and gift-giving using government money are forbidden.

(Shanghai Daily December 30, 2008)

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