Fake anti-graft inspectors arrested after 'interrogation'

BEIJING • Police in China have arrested three people and are looking for a fourth who built a fake interrogation centre and pretended to be graft inspectors, kidnapping a local official and his wife to extort money, state media said.

Since President Xi Jinping began his crackdown on deep-rooted graft three years ago, there has been a series of cases of criminals passing themselves off as anticorruption officials to force people to hand over their supposedly ill-gotten gains.

In the latest case, in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang in August, the four suspects forced their way into the home of an agricultural official, declared that they were from the prosecutors' office and led away the official and his wife with hoods over their heads, Chinese media reported this week.

The official, named as Zhang Wei, and his wife were driven to a building in which there was a room set up to look like an interrogation centre, including a government seal on the wall, media said.

The official, named as Zhang Wei, and his wife were driven to a building in which there was a room set up to look like an interrogation centre, including a government seal on the wall, media said.

Mr Zhang said: "Two of them started to question me and came up with several issues of breaking the law. I said these issues simply didn't exist, and when after a few hours they'd not gotten any answers, they started to get nervous."

Finally, he offered to pay 200,000 yuan (S$43,700) and the two sides ended up settling on 400,000 yuan.

The kidnappers let him and his wife to leave to get the money. Mr Zhang, however, called the police, who arrested three of the suspects.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2015, with the headline 'Fake anti-graft inspectors arrested after 'interrogation''. Print Edition | Subscribe