China to prosecute top graft buster in key province for corruption

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese authorities will prosecute one of the former top graft busters in the important southern province of Guangdong for corrupt practices, including bribery and interference in corruption investigations, the government said on Tuesday.

Zhong Shixian, who had been head of Guangdong's corruption prevention bureau, has been expelled from the Communist Party and handed over to legal authorities for prosecution, the party's graft-fighting Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said.

"Zhong Shixian was a leading cadre in the discipline commission and ought to have remembered well the party's aims, been a model of upholding party discipline and being honest and upright," it said in a statement.

"But he broke discipline in the course of promoting it, broke the law while knowing what the law was," the commission added, describing what he did as "vile".

A probe found that Zhong had interfered in cases, leaked details of investigations to those being probed, took bribes and gave bribes in exchange for promotions, among other crimes, it said.

Reuters was unable to reach Zhong for comment and it was not clear if he had a lawyer.

Guangdong, which borders Hong Kong, is one of China's export powerhouse provinces and most developed regions.

After taking over as party and military chief in late 2012, President Xi Jinping declared war on corruption at all levels in China, vowing to go after powerful "tigers" and lowly "flies".

Scores of senior officials have been brought down by the campaign, including former security tsar Zhou Yongkang.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)