Mafia-style gang stands trial in central China

 

Photo taken on March 31, 2014 shows the court scene where members of an alleged

mafia-style gang stand trial on charges including murder at the Xianning Intermediate

People’s Court in Xianning City, central China’s Hubei Province.   Photo by Ding Lin

 

An alleged mafia-style gang stands trial on charges including murder at the Xianning

Intermediate People’s Court in Xianning City, central China’s Hubei Province, on March 31,

2014.   Photo by Ding Lin

 

 

 

 

Mafia-style gang

stands trial

in central China

 

 

 

By Zuo Yuanfeng and Yu Junjie

 

 

Liu Han (center), a member of an alleged mafia-style gang, stands trial

on charges including murder at the Xianning Intermediate People’s Court

in Xianning City, central China’s Hubei Province, on March 31, 2014.

The 36-member gang, allegedly led by former mining tycoon Liu Han and

his brother Liu Wei in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, is the largest

mafia-style criminal group under trial in recent years in the country.

Photo by Ding Lin

 

 

Trials of 36 members of an alleged mafia-style gang opened on Monday of March 31 in central China’s Hubei Province on charges including intentional homicide.

The ring, allegedly led by former mining tycoon Liu Han and his brother Liu Wei in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, is the largest criminal group of its kind to go on trial in China in recent years.

Liu Han was board chairman of the Hanlong Group, the biggest private enterprise in Sichuan. He owned tens of subsidiary companies involved in electricity, energy, finance, mining, real estate and securities.

From 1993, Liu Han, Liu Wei and Sun Xiaodong, who is being dealt with in a separate case, made their money running gambling dens and dealing in construction materials and futures in Sichuan’s cities of Guanghan and Chengdu as well as Shanghai and Chongqing, according to a prosecutors’ statement released late on Monday of March 31.

From 1997, when Liu Han and Sun Xiaodong set up the Hanlong Group in Mianyang, the two cooperated with Liu Wei in recruiting a gang of thugs, and the group gradually developed in to a relatively stable criminal organization. The organization had ten steady members of a backbone team and another 20 followers. Liu Han, Liu Wei and Sun were the organizers and leaders of the group.

The group boasted a clear division of labor with Liu Han responsible for commanding the group and decision making, Sun implementing Liu’s instructions and managing Hanlong’s daily operations, and Liu Wei leading the hatchet men or “bodyguards”. The group made tremendous financial gains through organized crime and became an economic force to be reckoned with.

They planned and committed murders and assaults; locked up their enemies; took part in extortion, illegal trade and possession of guns; and tyrannized local people, the Xianning procuratorate said.

“Liu’s gang gained took control over various local industries such as mining illegally and had a huge influence, severely damaging economic and social order. Their doings should be viewed as organizing, leading and participating in mafia-style gang,” prosecutors said, adding Liu’s gang had violated the criminal law and evidence for their crimes was “solid, abundant and clear”.

Prosecutors said these people should be held criminally liable for crimes including organizing and leading the gang, intentional homicide and assault, illegal detention, holding and trading in illegal guns, collusion in bidding, running illegal businesses, racketeering, intentional destruction of property, obstructing officials in their line of duty, organizing gambling, harboring criminals, and loan fraud.

According to the court, the 36 defendants are being simultaneously prosecuted in seven cases to make clear facts and protect the legal interests of the accused. The criminal and civil content of the cases will be dealt with separately to ensure consistency. This trial only concerns the criminal aspects and was attended by 27 prosecutors, 36 defendants and their 50 defending lawyers, 49 of whom met their clients and consulted on all related matters before the trials.

Some defendants had no objection to the charges and others denied them.

Prior to the trials, prosecutors, defendants and defence lawyers exchanged opinions and reached consensus on some issues concerning the jurisdictions of the cases, withdrawal of parties of interests and the exclusion of illegally obtained evidence.

More than 500 people, including the defendants’ families, those of the victims, representatives of the public and journalists, observed the trials.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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