Ex-FIFA ref's prison term cut by one year
Updated: 2014-07-03 07:40
By Cao Yin (China Daily)
A former Chinese FIFA referee has received a one-year reduction in his prison sentence for good behavior, a Beijing court said on Wednesday.
Lu Jun, 55, attended a sentence-reduction hearing in a courtroom in Yancheng Prison, Hebei province.
Lu had been sentenced to five years and six months in prison in February 2012 for accepting match-fixing bribes totaling 810,000 yuan ($130,400). He was scheduled to be released on Sept 2, 2015.
But with the reduction in sentence - announced by Beijing No 2 Intermediate People's Court - Lu can be released on Sept 2 this year.
Lu, the only Chinese referee in the 2002 World Cup, held in South Korea and Japan, expressed his thanks to the court for its decision.
He said he will not do anything illegal after leaving prison.
"I will be a 'newcomer' after returning to society," said Lu, who wore blue prison clothing with white stripes.
Prison officer Zhang Xiaohua said that the prison decided to reward Lu with the commutation and applied for the reduction to the court in June because Lu performed well and received prison awards six times between December 2012 and April this year.
Another prison officer, surnamed Sun, said during the hearing that Lu often participates in cultural training in prison and gets along well with other inmates.
"He was a gardener responsible for cutting grass as he was in the No 3 ward, and after he was transferred to the No 5 ward, he also made efforts to do the sanitation, cleaning up alleys," said Sun, who was in charge of guarding Lu in the No 3 ward for about seven months.
One of Lu's roommates, whose name was not released for privacy reasons, said Lu is fond of reading books.
"He never complains when prison officers ask him to clean toilets. He deserves sentence reduction," the prisoner added.
Lu, the former "Golden Whistle", contributed to Chinese soccer, but he became the "black whistle" and was punished for his crimes, said Zhao Shixin, the prosecutor supervising the hearing.
"Everyone's life has ups and downs. Lu is no exception. I hope he can get back on track in two months," Zhao added.
Under a new judicial interpretation issued by China's top court in April, trials involving official misconduct, including corruption and bribery, and hearings for inmates whose cases have generated a lot of publicity or who have made great achievements in prison must be open to the public.
The interpretation, which took effect on June 1, aims to tighten oversight of commutation and parole decisions.
(China Daily 07/03/2014 page7)