Lyu Ruifeng (pictured), 62, former deputy mayor of Shenzhen from 2004 to 2015, is under investigation for alleged bribery, the People’s Procuratorate of Jiangmen, Guangdong Province, said yesterday. The case could be one of the most serious corruption probes of a top government official in the southern city that aspires to be China’s Silicon Valley.
It is currently unclear on which counts Lyu is being investigated, but Chinese media reports indicate that the long-term deputy mayor may be implicated in a deadly landslide at an illegal construction waste site in Shenzhen in 2015 that left 73 dead and four missing. The tragedy, which saw 22 buildings collapse and a section of the major West-East natural gas pipeline explode, was the biggest public safety scandal in Shenzhen in recent years.
The disaster was found to be due primarily to an insufficient drainage system installed at the construction waste site. A fake construction blueprint was reportedly issued with the support of the district administration bureau. Seven days after the landslide, Xu Yuanan, the head of the district administration bureau committed suicide. Four months later, Chen Yingchun, then former deputy mayor of Shenzhen and a colleague of Lyu Ruifeng, also committed suicide.
As of May, Chinese courts have sentenced 19 government officials and one business person to prison for up to 20 years for their involvement in the disaster.
Lyu reportedly expedited construction of the waste site via illegal means, including using informal government letters instead of proper administrative licensing for certain construction requirements, according to a government report issued in 2016. Lyu was responsible for city administration, land and planning and safety during his tenure as Shenzhen deputy mayor.
He graduated from Sun Yat-sen University, and was appointed as Shenzhen deputy mayor in 2004. Before that, he was the general secretary of Futian District in Shenzhen.