A high-ranking customs official at a major Chinese port has been accused of helping ‘professional shoppers’ smuggle luxury goods from overseas in exchange for sex.
Guan Zhaojin, 37, the head of customs at Dalian port in north-east China’s Liaoning province, has also been accused of taking bribes and abusing his power while helping the shoppers evade inspections and customs duty.
He was reported to the authorities last August by his wife, 36, who shared a video of him confessing to the affairs with the women. The video went viral his week, sparking an outcry.
In the video posted by his wife, surnamed Bu, Guan was seen wearing only a pair of underpants and listing the names of at least seven women he has slept with.
Guan has been suspended from his job and is under investigation, the Dalian Customs District said on its official Weibo account on Sunday.
‘We have received new leads and online reaction concerning Guan Zhaojin’s cover-up and assisting with smuggling, corruption and bribery,’ the authority said.
The customs office said a team has been set up to strictly review the evidence and the authority will publicise the result of the investigation.
Guan denied the affairs and said he was cleared of any wrongdoing by Dalian Customs last September, according to The Paper.
Guan’s wife told MailOnline she found out Guan was taking bribes and sleeping with the shoppers while checking his phone for evidence of an affair.
‘I suspected he was having more than one affair. Then I found out through his messages with the women he was violating the law,’ Bu said.
Guan had relationships with 14 women and slept with nine of them, she said. Married since 2009, the couple originally lived in Shenyang before her husband was transferred to Dalian in 2016.
‘I just couldn’t stand it anymore. I have forgiven him many times and he was still having affairs,’ she added.
‘I hope he will get the punishment he deserves,’ she said, adding that she will seek a divorce.
Professional shoppers, known as ‘daigou’ in China, purchase products including expensive purses, cosmetics and infant formula overseas and sell them back in China via messaging app WeChat or Chinese e-commerce platforms.
Due to China’s heavy import tariffs of 30 per cent to 80 per cent, the industry has been thriving in the country. There is an estimated one million small-time business operators who frequently shop overseas, according to Caixin.
A 2015 report by consulting firm Bain said that the daigou market for luxury goods alone was worth between 34 billion yuan (£3.9 billion) to 50 billion yuan (£5.8 billion).
Last year, an estimated US$100 million (£78 million) of foreign luxury goods was brought into China.
A hardworking daigou could earn 50,000 yuan (£5,777) to 60,000 yuan (£6,932) every month – around eight times Shanghai’s average salary.
On Jan 1, China’s new e-commerce law came into effect to clamp down on the unregulated trade. Daigous are required to register as businesses, which make them subject to taxation.