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Old 03-16-2005, 08:24 PM
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Default China - Official sentenced to death

CHINA (March 16):

Death penalty for Beijing highway official

Bi Yuxi, a former top communications and highways official in Beijing, was sentenced to death Wednesday for corruption.

The court will review his sentence in 2 years allowing him the possibility of surviving if his behaviour in prison is good.

Bi, the former vice-director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Communications, took bribes of over 10 million yuan (US$1.2 million) and also spent some State-owned money, 3 million yuan (US$360,000), without authorization between 1993 and 2004, according to the Beijing No 1 Intermediate People's Court.

Bi, 62, was chairman and Party secretary of the Beijing Capital Highway Development Company, a State-owned enterprise responsible for the operation of 8 roads in the capital city.

All his personal property will be confiscated, according to the judgement, and he will be fined 30,000 yuan (US$3,600).

Bi expressed regret for his crimes, the reason for his death sentence coming with a 2-year reprieve.

Most of Bi's bounty has been recovered. The court said Bi interfered in bidding for highway construction and helped others to get promoted when he was working between 1993-2004.

Court sources said he took US dollars, Hong Kong dollars, renminbi, cars, computers, watches and gold bars in bribes. Bi also used State cash, 3 million yuan (US$360,000), to buy investment endowment insurance for 15 staff at the Beijing Capital Highway Development Company in 2001, also against the law, the judgement said.

Bi appeared calm after the court decision, the Legal Evening News reported.

He did not say whether he would appeal.

His daughter and son-in-law were in court to hear the judgement. "I should have served the people well, but I forgot my obligations and responsibilities when I began to take bribes,"said Bi in a confession to the Beijing Municipal Commission for Discipline Inspection.

"At first, I merely made some small profits. Later, I began to accept enormous bribes," Bi added.

His crimes were discovered when the Fifth Ring Road project, which opened to traffic in 2003, was being audited.

Auditors found the cost of some parts of the road were much higher than what could be considered a reasonable price.

Bi was arrested in August last year.

(source: China Daily)
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