China policeman roasted over 110-table banquet

Wed Jan 6, 2010 3:12am EST
 
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article
[-] Text [+]

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese police officer faces investigation and public outrage after holding a wedding banquet for his daughter with some 110 tables of guests who scoffed down lobster and abalone, local media reported.

Liu Shenqiang is deputy chief of police at Shenzhen airport in far southern China, and news reports, Internet comments and now apparently official investigators have asked how he could afford up to 500,000 yuan ($73,000) or more on the wedding feast on Sunday, the Legal Daily reported on Wednesday.

Liu does not stand especially high in China's official hierarchy, and critics have seized on the banquet as a glimpse into the perks that even minor power can bring in this top-down political system presiding over a booming economy.

The banquet cost at least 440,000 yuan with the mainly seafood menu priced at about 4,000 yuan per table, said the Legal Daily, citing earlier Shenzhen media reports.

The paper said authorities were investigating the feast, with its suggestions of questionable income or favor-trading.

In China, wedding guests often give cash gifts to the bride and groom that help offset celebration costs.

Liu earlier told reporters that he had to hold such a big wedding celebration to fit in many relatives and friends from his home village and his stint in the army.

"There was nothing I could do about it," the Legal Daily quoted him as saying. "I hope everyone will excuse me, and understand it from my perspective."

Many Chinese Internet users were not convinced. "Any public figure has to accept scrutiny and skepticism," said one comment quoted by the report.

(Reporting by Beijing newsroom and Chris Buckley; Editing by Ron Popeski)