A Chinese judge known as the richest in the country has been charged with fraud, taking bribes and abusing her powers after it was revealed that a gambling habit lay behind her £200 million fortune.
Zhang Jiahui, 55, a former vice-president of the high people’s court in Hainan province, was indicted after video footage surfaced of her playing mahjong for money.
Mahjong gambling, though common, is strictly banned in China. The news that a judge had been involved provoked a wave of public anger and demands for an investigation. It highlighted the prevalence of government corruption in China, where courts are not immune to the problem, and cast doubt on the legal system.
Ms Zhang was said to have started her bet at £25 per hand with no upper limit. Winnings from one hand could be as much as £2,500, raising suspicions of Ms Zhang’s integrity. Mahjong gambling is often used to disguise bribes when the briber loses on purpose.
Ms Zhang’s husband, also a former government official, owned or controlled at least 35 companies, some of which were held by relatives and friends. He has been indicted in a separate case on charges of faking the company seal and bringing fake litigation.