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China's 'smiling official' sentenced to 14 years in prison

Sept. 5, 2013 at 1:13 AM

BEIJING, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- A work safety official in China, seen "smiling" at the scene of a multiple-fatality accident, Thursday was sentenced to 14 years in prison for bribe-taking.

A court in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi province, also found Yang Dacai, former head of the provincial work safety administration, guilty of holding large tracts of property he could not account for and fined him 50,000 yuan ($8,170), the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Yang had been photographed smiling at the scene of a bus-gasoline tanker collision in August of last year in which 36 people died, Xinhua reported.

Public anger against Yang grew further when subsequent photographs showed him wearing expensive watches, one of them reportedly valued at more than $5,500. At his trial last month, Yang claimed he had purchased the watches with his own salary.

Xinhua said after an initial investigation, Yang was dismissed from his position as a provincial member of the commission for discipline inspection of the Communist party and from his post.

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