China's former supreme court VP gets life imprisonment

14:56, January 19, 2010      

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Former Vice President of China's Supreme People's Court (SPC) Huang Songyou was sentenced Tuesday to life imprisonment for taking bribes and embezzlement.

Huang, 52, was convicted of taking more than 3.9 million yuan (about 574,000 U.S. dollars) in bribes from 2005 to 2008 by abusing his post as SPC vice president, said the Intermediate People's Court of Langfang City in north China's Hebei Province.

He was found to have embezzled 1.2 million yuan of public funds in 1997, when he was president of the Intermediate People's Court of Zhanjiang, a city in south China's Guangdong Province, according to the verdict.

The court ordered Huang be stripped of his political rights for life and all of Huang's properties be confiscated for the crimes.

Court hearings for Huang's case began Thursday.

The court said Huang had voluntarily confessed to the crimes during investigation and the majority of money taken illegally had been retrieved.

"But as a chief justice, Huang knowingly violated the law by trading power for money and taking a hefty sum of bribes, which has produced a bad impact on the society, and should be punished severely," said the court verdict.

A native of Guangdong, Huang became SPC vice president in 2002. He was removed from the post on Oct. 28, 2008 by Chinese lawmakers at a legislative session and stripped of his CPC membership.

He is the first chief judge to have been removed for law and discipline violations in the history of the SPC, according to Shen Deyong, executive vice president of the SPC.

It is not immediately known whether Huang will appeal his case.

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