Chinese official admits to taking 13 million yuan of bribes to feed his passion for antique jade

These antique jade exhibits are part of the bribes that former Anhui deputy governor Ni Fake allegedly received. Photo: SCMP Pictures
These antique jade exhibits are part of the bribes that former Anhui deputy governor Ni Fake allegedly received. Photo: SCMP Pictures

A former deputy governor of Anhui province admitted in court on Monday to taking more than 13 million yuan (HK$16.4 million) in bribes, most of it in jade to feed his passion for the precious stones.

Ni Fake was also accused of having 5.8 million yuan in property he could not account for.

He pleaded guilty to the charges at a hearing in Dongying in Shandong province, according to the court’s social media account.

No details were given of any punishment and he may be sentenced later.

It was announced that Ni was under investigation for alleged corruption in June last year when he was serving as deputy governor and as Communist Party secretary in the city of Luan.

He was accused of taking cash, jade and Chinese paintings as bribes from nine businessmen in 49 deals.

Ni, in return, helped with planning approvals and granting land use to property developers and mineral companies.

Earlier media reports suggested nearly 80 per cent of the bribes taken by Ni were in jade.

One of Ni’s sources of Hotan jade, a highly prized form of the precious stone from the Xinjiang region, came from Ji Lichang, who owned the Anhui Dachang Minerals Group, according to prosecutors.

One piece of jade given by Ji to the deputy governor was valued at 3.5 million yuan.

A report in the People’s Daily said Ji helped build up his wealth by learning ways to please officials like Ni.

Ji was said to have taken multiple flights to Xinjiang, along with jade experts, hunting for fine examples of the precious stone for the former deputy governor.

The mineral businessman was said to have bribed Ni and his subordinates to obtain development rights for iron ore mines in Huoqiu county near Luan.

After the investigation into Ni’s affairs began last year several of his subordinates have also come under scrutiny for alleged corruption.

They include Quan Junliang, the former deputy mayor of Luan; Zhou Yao, a former economic development chief in the city, and Chen Lianggang, an ex-director of the land resources department in Anhui.

Yang Xianjing, a former inspector in the land resources department and Li Xuewen, the former bureau chief of Anhui’s geology and mineral resources bureau, have also come under investigation.

Prosecutors said the series of transactions involving Ji’s mining company in Huoqiu county alone had created losses of 1.89 billion yuan to the national treasury as he was offered the development rights on the cheap.

A front-page editorial in the PLA Daily today criticised some military officers for their extravagant lifestyles and love of fine things, including jade.

“Instead of studying warfare, they indulge in antiques, paintings and jade, forgetting about the threats of war and losing the ability to fight in combat,” the editorial said.

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