Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Gang leader executed, 4 lawmakers removed

A notorious gang leader was executed Thursday in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality after being convicted of organizing a crime ring that killed one person and intentionally injured eight others over the past 10 years.

Chen Ming, 36, from Rongchang County in the suburbs of Chongqing, was the first to receive death penalty in the city's crackdown on organized crime.

The Fifth Intermediate People's Court in Chongqing sentenced Chen to death in July 2008. The Supreme People's Court approved the death penalty on Thursday.

Penalties for the other 13 members of Chen's ring ranged from three years in jail to a suspended death sentence.

Members of the ring were also convicted of fraud, racketeering, drug trafficking and illegally running casinos in villages in Rongchang County, a court spokesman said.

In another development, the Chongqing Municipal People's Congress, the city's lawmaking body, decided Friday to remove four deputies who were allegedly involved in organized crime.

The four were Chongqing's former deputy public security chief Peng Changjian, former head of the city's traffic police Chen Honggang, former police chief in Dianjiang County Xu Qiang and businessman Li Qiang.

Peng and Xu have been arrested on charges of concealing organized criminal activities, and Chen is still under investigation.

Li Qiang was tried at a Chongqing court last month on charges of organizing and leading criminal gangs, disrupting public transportation, disturbing public order, concealing account books, bribery and tax evasion. The court is yet to hand down a ruling.

A spokesman for the municipal procuratorate said 700 people had been arrested this year in connection with gang-related crimes in Chongqing.

At least 50 others, including 28 judicial and police officers, had been investigated on suspicion of power abuse, including allegations of corruption, malfeasance and infringing people's rights, he said.