The Straits Times
Published on Sep 21, 2012

China official sacked for 'smiling face' and luxury watches


BEIJING (AFP) - A Chinese safety official with a penchant for luxury watches has been sacked for "inappropriate 'smiling face' behaviour" after he was pictured grinning at a fatal accident, authorities said on Friday.

Widespread outrage was triggered last month by images of Mr Yang Dacai, head of the Shaanxi provincial work safety administration, smiling broadly at the scene of a collision between a bus and a methanol tanker that killed 36 people.

Incensed web users soon dug up photographs of Mr Yang wearing 11 expensive-looking watches - five of which were together worth more than 300,000 yuan (S$58,200), the China Daily newspaper quoted an expert as saying.

The Communist party's provincial discipline inspection commission said in a statement he was dismissed for his "inappropriate 'smiling face' behaviour" and for "wearing many brand-name watches".