Date
20 September 2017
Four counting machines broke down trying to process the millions of yuan in ill-gotten gains hoarded by one coal official. Photo: Bloomberg
Four counting machines broke down trying to process the millions of yuan in ill-gotten gains hoarded by one coal official. Photo: Bloomberg

When a corruption cash crisis hits home

Spare a thought for the corrupt official with so much money that there’s not even enough room under the bed to stash the cash. That was the problem confronted by one National Energy Administration senior official who kept more than 100 million yuan (US$16.1 million) in his home.

Investigators found the cash at the home of Wei Pengyuan, deputy director of the administration’s coal department. There was so much money that four counting machines broke down totting up the total.

Some netizens ran a few numbers and calculated that if 100 million yuan in 100 yuan notes — the highest denomination — was piled up, the stack would be around 100 meters high and weigh 1.15 metric tons.

That though is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to government corruption on the mainland — and that’s why Beijing has launched a massive anti-graft campaign. 

It hasn’t made it any easier for corrupt officials, who have had to come up with all sorts of creative ways to hide their cash so that it’s at hand when the moment comes.

Pillows, cushions and under the bed are the traditional hiding spots but others have concealed their cash in rice jars and the lining of trousers, according to the Beijing Times.

Some have gone even further. A public security chief in Jiangxi province hid his ill-gotten gains in a false network of gas pipes, and a former Tianjin district chief bizarrely resorted to secreting his funds in the bellies of fish. If there’s just too much cash to hide at home the best thing can be to buy another home to store the wealth — as a deputy director in Hebei’s Department of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation did.

– Contact the writer at [email protected]

SK

EJ Insight writer

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