A low level government official is suspected of having
misappropriated more than 100 million yuan (US$11.25 million) to
Prosecutors have been shocked to discover that Li Weimin, a
township head in the city of Dongguan, Guangdong Province, may have stolen such a
vast amount of money.
Li, 43, Tangxia Township head, is suspected of having lost at
least 90 million yuan (US$10.13 million) in overseas casinos
between 2001 and 2004.
"Li is said to have lost more than 4 million yuan (US$500,000)
gambling in a Macao casino on a single night," claimed a CCTV
report on Sunday.
Li is, so far, the first official to be accused of helping
himself to public funds in the prosperous city of Donguan.
He is also suspected of taking bribes in exchange for granting
developers land use rights and granting government loans to private
Li's monthly salary was less than 5,000 yuan (US$625), yet he
and his wife Huang Caifeng owned 30 apartments valued at more than
100 million yuan (US$12.5 million).
With such valuable assets to his name, Li was one of the richest
government officials in Guangdong Province, which borders the Hong
Kong and Macao special administrative regions. He visited Hong Kong
and Macao a total of 257 times between 2001 and 2004, being seen in
local casinos on every trip.
In 2004 alone, Li visited casinos in Macao 67 times. His
personal record was paying 17 visits to Macao's casinos in a month,
including five times in one week. Investigators are also looking
into allegations that he repeatedly took cruises on luxury liners,
continuing his gambling in international waters.
Li was promoted to head of Tangxia in 2001, after serving as
deputy town head for 11 years.
His alleged misappropriations were exposed when the local
auditing department launched an auditing campaign after Li was
transferred to another position in the city in early 2005.
Li has been expelled from the Communist Party of China and
Dongguan People's Procuratorate approved his arrest in early
Dongguan Intermediate People's Court opened a public hearing on
Li's case in August, but has not yet ruled on it.
(China Daily October 31, 2006)