China official in sex case jailed

2013-06-28 14:06
Lei Zhengfu, centre, former Communist Party chief of Chongqing city's Beibei district, who was involved in a sex tape scandal, attends his trial on corruption charges. (File, AP)

Lei Zhengfu, centre, former Communist Party chief of Chongqing city's Beibei district, who was involved in a sex tape scandal, attends his trial on corruption charges. (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Beijing — A former Chinese official at the centre of a sex tape scandal was convicted of taking more than $500 000 in bribes and sentenced to 13 years in prison on Friday, at a time when China's new generation of leadership has vowed to crack down on widespread graft.

Lei Zhengfu, former party chief of a district in the south-central metropolis of Chongqing, did not say whether he would appeal the verdict by the city's No 1 Intermediate Court, according to state media. His punishment also includes confiscation of personal assets of $48 000.

Lei's case has riveted the public since video clips went viral of the portly 55-year-old having sex with a 25-year-old woman hired by property developers, allegedly in an elaborate extortion scheme. As more lurid details emerged, the scandal has exposed the shady intertwining of sex, money and power.

The sex extortion scheme has ensnarled at least 20 other party cadres, but Lei appears to have been singled out — partly because he has been especially vulnerable to public derision. Lei's receding hairline, pop eyes, bushy eyebrows and wide jowls provided a caricature for public corruption and moral degradation widely detested by the public.

Beijing Institute of Technology law professor Xu Xin said the sentence was more severe than those in earlier corruption cases involving similar amounts of bribes.

10 years for extortion mastermind


"Maybe because of the case's social impact, the court has chosen to be on the harsh end with its sentence," he said.

When blackmailed with the sex video, Lei asked another property developer who had benefited from his patronage to pay hush money of $510 000. Lei argued that the money was a loan, but prosecutors said the money — which was not fully repaid — amounted to a bribe.

Prosecutors also said Lei took two other bribes — one of $10 000 and another of $16 000 — in return for favours granted through his government position, but it is Lei's sex scandal and the scheme behind it that have captivated member of the Chinese public, who are disgusted by what they see as the moral degradation of those in power.

In a separate case, a district court on Friday afternoon sentenced Xiao Ye, the man convicted of masterminding the extortion scheme, to 10 years in prison.

The woman in the sex tape, Zhao Hongxia, was given a two-year sentence that was suspended for two years and could eventually be reduced. The official People's Court Daily said Xiao plans to make an appeal but Zhao does not.

Read more on:    china

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.