Ex-SOE head's death penalty overturned

Updated: 2015-11-10 08:01

By Zhang Yi(China Daily)

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After a two-year review, the Supreme People's Court overturned the death sentence and ordered a retrial for the former head of a State-owned enterprise who was accused of taking bribes and embezzling gold and silver worth millions of yuan.

In Song Wendai's trial two years ago it was alleged that he had misappropriated 134 kilograms of gold, nearly 1,000 kilograms of silver and some other precious metals and cash in addition to four real estate properties.

The top court rejected the death penalty on grounds that the facts were not clear and the evidence was insufficient, according to a Beijing Times news report on Monday.

A date for the retrial has not been set.

Song, 53, was president of State-owned Inner Mongolia Qiankun Gold & Silver Refinery Co from 2002 to 2008, and then served as chairman of the company's supervisory board until his arrest in 2010.

Ex-SOE head's death penalty overturned

He worked at the high people's court in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region from 1995 to 2000 and joined the company as general manager after leaving the court.

He was arrested on December 2010 on charges of embezzling public funds and was sentenced to death in October 2012, after the first trial, for embezzling cash and properties worth 80 million yuan ($12.6 million).

Song appealed to the regional high people's court but his appeal was rejected. The court upheld the verdict in August 2013.

All death sentences must be approved by the Supreme People's Court. Song's sentence is among several that the court has overturned.

Nine years ago, the Supreme People's Court withdrew from provincial courts the power to impose death sentences to reduce the chances of unjust executions.

Southern Weekly reported that the number of death sentences dropped by a third in 2007 compared with the year before.

In a recent landmark ruling, the death sentence of a 75-year-old drug trafficker in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region was commuted to life imprisonment by the top court.

Wang Lunye was sentenced to death in 2013, and the penalty was upheld on appeal the following year.


(China Daily 11/10/2015 page4)