Date
27 July 2017
Cash seizures from corrupt government officials in China have amounted to hundreds of millions of yuan. The cash was found hidden in all sorts of places, including gas tanks and manure pits. Photos: Weibo
Cash seizures from corrupt government officials in China have amounted to hundreds of millions of yuan. The cash was found hidden in all sorts of places, including gas tanks and manure pits. Photos: Weibo

Tree caves, gas tanks: China’s corrupt think out of the box

As China continues its anti-graft campaign, corrupt government and party officials are getting ever more resourceful in trying to conceal their ill-gotten cash. 

With stashing money in banks not deemed safe, as the funds can be traced back to the sources and land the account holders in trouble, and keeping cash piles at home also considered risky, corrupt officials are thinking out of the box literally when it comes to places to hide their banknotes.  

Investigations into some unfortunate individuals who got caught by anti-graft authorities in recent times have revealed that in some cases the officials even hid their money in tree caves.

Beijing’s Mirror Evening News, in a recent report, gave several examples of officials trying to beat the system by picking unusual places to hide their treasures.

Take the case of Xu Qiyao, a former top official from the Construction Department of Jiangsu province, who has been accused of taking at least 4 million yuan in bribes.

Apart from transferring some of the money to his sister in Beijing and his wife in Xuzhou, Xu was found to have hidden his cash in some really astounding locations. 

Following an interrogation, during which Xu confessed, authorities found piles of banknotes, neatly wrapped in plastic bags, in various places including tree caves, rice fields and even manure pits.

In another case, Chen Jingyuan, a former deputy chief at Hunan Highway Transportation Management Bureau, was found to have stashed banknotes worth over one million yuan inside two defunct bombs that he kept at his home as display pieces. 

Chen was in 2012 sentenced to 9 years in jail for taking bribes and holding unaccountable wealth.

As for Li Guowei, another corrupt official who received life imprisonment in 2005, authorities discovered that he hid his cash in gas tanks.

Li made his money while serving as the bureau chief of the Ganzhou Highway Management Bureau in Jiangxi province. He was charged with receiving 1.97 million yuan in bribes and holding unaccountable properties worth 3.67 million yuan.

Meanwhile, some officials also stored their money in remote villas.

Li Youcan, former deputy head of Hebei Foreign Economics and Business Department, and Luo Yaoxing, head of Centre for Immunology at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of Guangdong Province, were such examples.

Li bought a remote villa outside Beijing and was said to have transported 16 suitcases full of cash by golf cart. A total of 47.44 million yuan was confiscated from Li. In 2006, he was sentenced to death.

In the case of Luo, he wrapped his money in plastic bags and hid them under the floor of his villa.

He kept dessicant in the plastic bags to ensure that the banknotes would remain in good state. However, when authorities dug up the place they found that some of the 12 million yuan bills had turned moldy.

Luo received life imprisonment in 2006. Apart from the hidden cash under the floor, authorities confiscated one-and-a-half million yuan worth of assets from the former official.

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DY/AC/RC

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