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Another high-profile official investigated after watch suspicions


11:17, December 07, 2012

HANGZHOU, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- The clock may be ticking for another senior official whose suspiciously pricey watch collection has been exposed online just months after an almost identical case brought down one of his peers.

Yuan Zhanting, mayor of Lanzhou, provincial capital of Gansu, faces a corruption investigation after being pictured wearing watches that appear to be worth more than could be afforded on a legitimate public servant's salary. If the allegations prove true, he could be dismissed from his post.

Muckraking netizen Zhou Lubao on Monday posted a series of photos of Yuan wearing timepieces including a Vacheron Constantin worth about 200,000 yuan (31,746 U.S. dollars), an Omega of about 150,000 yuan and a gold Rolex. Their release triggered an instant public outcry for a probe into the official.

The Gansu Provincial Commission for Discipline Inspection confirmed with Xinhua on Wednesday that it has started an investigation to look into the allegations against Yuan.

Zhou, a company salesman in Haining, in east China's Zhejiang Province, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview that he began to follow news about Yuan about three months ago, when the mayor was reportedly related to a petition case.

"When I looked through news pictures of Yuan on the Internet, I unintentionally found that the watches he was wearing looked pricey," Zhou said.

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