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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 December 2004, 10:51 GMT
China cadre loses all in N Korea casino
Chinese authorities are reportedly searching for an official accused of gambling in possibly the least likely choice for casino lovers - North Korea.

The website of a corruption watchdog in northern China said Cai Haowen squandered hundreds of thousands of dollars in public money on the trips.

He has already been expelled from the Chinese Communist Party, the Discipline Inspection Commission in Yanbian said.

Beijing is grappling with what is seen as widespread official corruption.

Mr Cai made 27 trips this year to the Hong Kong-owned five-star Emperor Hotel and Casino in the Rajin-Sonbong Free Trade Zone just over the border from China, the Yanbian discipline commission said.

The former head of the Yanbian traffic and transport management office lost 2.765m yuan ($334,000) in public money and 750,000 yuan ($90,618) used from five different freight companies, it said. He has since gone into hiding.

"This shocking case of embezzling public funds taken overseas to gamble shows... the trend of unhealthy gambling has invaded us," the commission said on its website.

"In future, government officials found gambling will be sacked. If they are found gambling abroad they will be expelled from the party," it said.

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