Ma Chaoqun (Chinese: 马超群) is a Chinese politician and former municipal water works executive from the city of Qinhuangdao, in northeastern China. He underwent investigation for corruption beginning in 2014. He gained nationwide notoriety after investigators found over 120 million yuan (~$17 million) worth of cash in his home.[1] Ma stored over 100 million yuan in an apartment that he purchased, similar to a method used by another corrupt official Wei Pengyuan, who was given the death penalty for bribery.[2]


Ma was born in Haigang District in Qinghuangdao, the eldest of four children. In 1985, Ma graduated from a local polytechnic college and entered the municipal water works department, where he worked as a technician in charge of furnace maintenance. He later began taking on administrative roles. In 1997, Ma was named head of the water works division of Beidaihe, a seaside resort popular with leaders of the Communist Party. In 2005, the municipal water works was re-organized into a corporation, which signed a 25-year contract with the city to maintain the water supply. Ma became its vice president in charge of its Beidaihe branch.[3]

In November 2010, the operations of the Beidaihe branch of the company was separated from that of Qinhuangdao. In the next year, the state-owned Beidaihe Water Works Corporation was founded with Ma Chaoqun as its chief executive. The company served Beidaihe as well as neighbouring counties. More importantly, the company was charged with providing water to various state and party agencies stationed in the area, including to Communist leaders during their annual summer retreat in Beidaihe. In 2012, Ma was given recognition by the province for his high performance during the summer months, named a "Model Labourer" by the city of Qinhuangdao.[3][4]

In January 2014, Ma was reported by people with links to a state-owned company in Beijing as having solicited bribes worth millions of yuan from a local hotel. On February 12, 2014, Ma was detained for a corruption investigation.[5] His younger brother Ma Zhongqun was detained on the same day, and his younger sister Ma Qingru was arrested a month later. On November 12, 2014, the Hebei provincial Commission for Discipline Inspection (CDI) released findings of its investigation, accusing Ma of embezzlement, bribery, and illegally moving public resources. He was arrested and faced a raft of criminal charges.[3]

The Ma case gained notoriety for the astronomical value of alleged bribes. The Hebei CDI was said to have discovered over 120 million yuan ($19.3 million) worth of cash in Ma's home. Also unearthed was 37 kilograms of gold and 68 real estate certificates of ownership. To carry out Ma's arrest, the police mobilized the city's special operations unit, as Ma was believed to have ties with local organized crime. That Ma, merely a division-level (处级) official (i.e., rank equivalent to that of a county governor) had such a large sum stored up in his home shocked the public.[6] Ma's mother Zhang Guiying denied that her son was corrupt, claiming that the assets were the result of years of hard work by her husband who operated a coal mine, asserting that her son was being blackmailed.[3][7]

Chinese media has also reported connections between Ma Chaoqun and his so-called "godfather", who was suspected to be a high-level official from Beijing. It has been suggested that the processing of the case has faced interference from the authorities as increasing its scope may have dragged out an 'untouchable tiger'.[8][9][10]

Ma is married to Zhang Lihuan. They had one son. Ma's name, "Chaoqun", means "soars above the rest."


  1. ^ "秦皇岛亿元贪官家中巨额金条被查现场照片曝光" (in Chinese). 网易. Archived from the original on 2014-11-20. Retrieved 2015-04-12.
  2. ^ Anderlini, Jamil; Clover, Charles (2014-11-21). "Chinese general caught with tonne of cash". Financial Times. Retrieved 2023-06-07.
  3. ^ a b c d 专案组向“亿元水官”出示抓捕文书 被其一把抢过撕掉, Ifeng, November 19, 2014
  4. ^ 北戴河供水总公司成立,河北新闻网, 2011-02-09
  5. ^ "马超群母亲:钱和黄金是我的" (in Chinese). 凤凰网. November 15, 2014.
  6. ^ "河北藏1.2亿现金官员被指抠门 一人吃饭只点面条" (in Chinese). 网易. Archived from the original on 2014-11-17. Retrieved 2015-04-12.
  7. ^ ""小官巨贪"家族7人被拘 母亲称马超群遭人报复(图)" (in Chinese). 网易. Archived from the original on 2014-11-29. Retrieved 2015-04-12.
  8. ^ "河北"亿元水官"再调查 自称北京某高官是其干爹" (in Chinese). 凤凰网. Retrieved 2015-04-12.
  9. ^ "谁是亿元贪官马超群的"干爹"?" (in Chinese). 网易. Archived from the original on 2014-11-29. Retrieved 2015-04-12.
  10. ^ "北京某高官是马超群干爹?公布案情为冲破阻力" (in Chinese). 网易. Archived from the original on 2014-11-29. Retrieved 2015-04-12.