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China official drowned by investigators during anti-graft probe

A Chinese official was drowned by investigators who stripped him naked and held him down in a bathtub as they attempted to extort a confession of corruption, state-run media reported today.

world Updated: Sep 04, 2013 10:14 IST

A Chinese official was allegedly drowned by investigators who stripped him naked and held him down in a bathtub as they attempted to extort a confession to corruption, state-run media reported Wednesday.

Yu Qiyi was held down by graft investigators in a tub full of "icy water" several times after his questioning failed to produce satisfactory answers, the Beijing Times said, citing a court filing by prosecutors.

They only stopped when Yu, 42, the chief engineer of a state-owned company in the eastern city of Wenzhou, stopped struggling, the report said.

He was taken to hospital and died a few hours later.

A post-mortem showed he had been made to "imbibe liquids" that caused pulmonary dysfunction and eventually his death, according to a photograph of a forensic document carried by the newspaper.

Relatives also found multiple bruises on his body after his death in April, it added. He had been detained since early March over suspected wrongdoings in a land deal, the report said.

The six investigators who interrogated Yu -- five of them from the ruling Communist Party's discipline inspection department and the other one a local prosecutor -- have been charged with intentional injury and a trial is pending, the report said.

"Yu Qiyi was a strong man before he was detained... but was skinny when he died," the dead man's wife Wu Qian was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

"He was bruised internally and externally during the 38 days (in detention). He must have been tortured in other ways besides the drowning exposed by the prosecution," she said.

China's new leadership has mounted a high-profile anti-corruption drive since Xi Jinping took over as party chief, warning that corruption could destroy the party and threatening to expose high-ranking officials, or "tigers", along with low-level "flies".

Some senior figures have been ensnared, among them Jiang Jiemin, who oversaw state-owned firms, and Liu Tienan, once a deputy director of the influential National Development and Reform Commission.

Sudden deaths of officials while under investigation are not unknown in China.

Qian Guoliang, a seismological official in Huangmei county in the central province of Hubei, died in June after he was taken away by the party's anti-graft investigators, previous Chinese media reports said.

His face was disfigured and his body carried bruises and festering sores when relatives saw him in hospital, they said.

First Published: Sep 04, 2013 10:08 IST