A Meishan Health Bureau employee borrowed an ambulance to drive to a wedding ceremony last week. Even worse, it was revealed, he might not have even been an invited guest!
On September 25, a netizen created a thread called "120 Ambulance Presenting at a Wedding Ceremony" on a Meishan forum.
According to the post, an empty ambulance with license plate number Z95075 was spotted at the Passion Plaza (激情广场) in downtown Meishan. Originally believing that someone was sick or injured, the forum user later found out that the ambulance had been parked there by a Health Bureau worker, who was attending a wedding ceremony at a nearby restaurant.
"Using company cars for private purpose is not rare nowadays," wrote the netizen in his post. "But driving an ambulance to attend a wedding is one in a thousand."
An employee of the restaurant confirmed that 24 tables were booked on that day for a wedding by workers of the Health Bureau of Dongpo District (东坡区卫生局).
Chengdu Commercial Daily reporters later reached Meng, the father of the bride and a staff member of the Health Bureau of Dongpo District. "Most of the guests are my close relatives," he said. "But some of them were not invited." When asked if he knew anyone who drove an ambulance to attend the wedding, he responded with a firm "No."
The vehicle belongs to a health center in Songjiang County (松江镇卫生院) in the Dongpo District.
Health center director Liu Qiang denied any wrongdoing. "It's the hospital's vehicle; it's not from the emergency-dispatch center," he explained. "The driver was heading to Meishan First People's Hospital to pick up a patient. And we parked the car by the street to accompany a friend to see some new residential apartments."
But when reporters further questioned him as to why the vehicle had not been parked in the apartment's mostly empty parking lot, Liu hesitated. "Besides me, one employee from the Songjiang County health center and five or six employees from the Zhangkan County (张坎镇) health center were going to the wedding. So we drove to the restaurant together," said Liu. "We did it for convenience. Now I regret it very much." [Editor's note: There seems to be no explanation in the original article pertaining to Liu's defense that the amublance was on the way to pick up a patient when the driver decided to stop off and have a look at apartments. We're all befuddled by this, too.]
The following day, Dongpo District Health Bureau publically announced that Liu Qiang would be penalized for using a public vehicle for private purposes. In addition to a fine of RMB150, the penalties include public denouncement against Liu, an administrative warning, and Liu's being made ineligible for the outstanding person of the year award. Liu will also be required to write a letter of apology.
Meishan is a prefecture-level city south of Chengdu.