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Court upholds verdict for sex tape official

2013-09-18 09:19 chinadaily.com.cn Web Editor: Wang Fan
Lei Zhengfu, a former official of Chongqing's Beibei district, stands trial on June 19 in a court in the city. [Photo/Xinhua]

Lei Zhengfu, a former official of Chongqing's Beibei district, stands trial on June 19 in a court in the city. [Photo/Xinhua]

A court in Chongqing upheld the verdict on Tuesday against a former official who was involved in a sex tape scandal.

The Chongqing Municipal Higher People's Court affirmed the original judgment by the Chongqing No 1 Intermediate People's Court to give Lei Zhengfu, 55, the former Party chief of the city's Beibei district, 13 years in prison for taking bribes of more than 3.16 million yuan ($515,000).

Lei took the bribes to stop being blackmailed by six people, who sent a woman to have sex with Lei and recorded it secretly in 2008.

The six threatened to publicize the video unless he paid them 3 million yuan. Lei pleaded not guilty at the first hearing and appealed the verdict.

He also denied that he took bribes during the second hearing.

The discussion at the second trial focused on whether the 3 million was a bribe.

Lei was removed from his post immediately after the sex tape was posted online in November.

He was detained in February and expelled from the Party in May.

The court also sustained original verdicts on Tuesday for the three of the six people involved in the blackmail ring.

Xiao Ye, the ringleader, was given 10 years. Xu Sheqing received four years and Yang Peng received three and a half.

The three appealed after the first hearing in June, saying the sentences were too harsh.

The other three, including Zhao Hongxia, the woman in the tape, pleaded guilty during the first hearing. Zhao was given two years with probation.

Zhao's photo has never been publicized, and her appearance has drawn public curiosity.

Photos claiming to be Zhao were widely spread online, but no official source confirmed any of them.

Her lawyer said she might change her name to avoid public attention.

According to prosecutors, from 2008 to 2009, the group lured officials into having sex with women and blackmailed them with tapes secretly filmed. A dozen of officials and enterprise heads were toppled.

The group received public and police attention after Lei's video was released online.

Law experts said Lei's punishment was too light considering the case's bad social impact.

.The 13-year sentence for Lei was in accord with the money involved, but considering the case's great negative social effect, his punishment was not heavy enough,. said Wu Ming'an, a criminal law professor at the China University of Political Science and Law.

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