So a bureau chief a Chinese state level agency - roughly the equivalent of a departmental director under a minister in the UK - gets busted for the usual discipline violations. Then this happens:
Earlier in May, when investigators searched Wei Pengyuan, deputy chief of China’s National Energy Adminstration’s coal bureau, they uncovered more than 100 million yuan ($16 million) in 100-yuan notes. To put the numbers into perspective, that’s 1.15 ton, or 2 cubic meters (just a little bit smaller than a typical restroom in an apartment), of cash.
The amount was even too much for cash-counting machines – 16 were ordered to count the stack, and 4 burned out due to overheating. Many Chinese netizens joked that China should adopt “cash-counting machine” as the new measurement of money when it comes to corrupt officials, as in “He has 2 cash-counting machines of money at home.”
The guy turned out to have bought a flat just to stash his money in. This could be a signal that the anti-corruption drive is having some effect; not only in monitoring bank accounts and conspicuous consumption, but also looking out for the various informal alternative currencies - debit cards, art, high end baijiu and cigarettes, property and so on - used to launder bribes. Wang Qishan, the man in direct charge of rooting out pelf was formerly one of China's top finance guys, and he appears top know all the tricks. So now you can't take it in anything but money, and then you've got nowhere to put it. Alternatively, Mr Wei might just be a clasic miser.
Even if this is a sign that the Discipline Inspectors are winning, that in itself could be a problem:
Economic collapse was among the many factors that brought the Ming Dynasty to an end. The reason? A serious cash flow problem because too much of the nation’s wealth was stored in corrupt officials’ basements.