China post official accused of stealing 240m- dollars media

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HONG KONG, Nov 13 (Reuters) A Chinese post office director has been accused of stealing more than 240 million dollars from customers to help pay off her gambling debts and make personal investments, local media reported today.

He Liqiong, 43, who managed a post office in the southern Chinese city of Foshan, is accused of amassing 1.79 billion yuan over three years by siphoning cash from hundreds of depositors at her branch.

''He Liqiong is suspected of using 19.8 million yuan to repay gambling debts, more than 73 million yuan for investments, and around 20 million yuan to speculate on land around Foshan,'' the Sing Tao Daily quoted police investigators as saying.

More than 500 million yuan was still missing.

Some of the depositors included state-owned enterprises, which had been lured to open postal savings accounts at He's branch with the promise of interest rates up to 40 per cent, the paper reported.

The pro-Beijing Ta Kung Pao said the local procuratorate would soon take the case to court.

The case came to light last August, when He was arrested for an assault on a colleague who had alerted some of the depositors to problems with their accounts, the paper added.

REUTERS CS RK0830

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