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Courts to auction seized goods online

By ZHAO YINAN  (China Daily)

09:37, August 24, 2012

The Supreme People's Court is drafting a regulation on judicial auctions that will include online auctions of seized property, a senior judge said on Thursday.

Online judicial auctions are a pioneering attempt in China to promote judicial transparency, but there are doubts over its legitimacy, said Jiang Huiling, deputy director of the judicial reform office of the top court.

Jiang said the top court has completed the initial draft of the regulation, though it has to go through several changes after soliciting opinions among courts of all levels and industry insiders. Jiang did not specify a date when the draft will come out, adding he hopes it can be released as soon as possible.

The top court announced the draft regulation after several courts in Zhejiang province took the initiative in early July to launch online auctions of property seized by courts, a move that divided the opinions of auction professionals and judges.

So far, six vehicles have been put up for sale on Taobao.com, a leading online sales website, since the court of Ningbo, Zhejiang province, sold a BMW sedan and a Mitsubishi Outlander SUV on July 9.

Zhejiang High People’s Court said in a notice that online judicial auctions are a fairer and more transparent system for dealing with property confiscated from convicted criminals.

It said it plans to expand the online auction to 19 grassroots courts across major cities in the province, including the provincial capital Hangzhou, Wenzhou and Shaoxing.

Ouyang Shuying, deputy secretary-general of the China Association of Auctioneers, told China Daily in a previous interview that she wonders whether Taobao is a qualified auctioneer. According to China’s Auction Law, only companies approved by industry regulators and the auction association can carry out online judicial sales.


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