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China : Billionaire Leader of ‘Mafia-Style’ Gang Sentenced to Die
China : Billionaire Leader of 'Mafia-Style' Gang Sentenced to Die

China : Billionaire Leader of ‘Mafia-Style’ Gang Sentenced to Die

Former mining boss Liu Han was sentenced to death on Friday on charges of running a mafia-style gang in a two-decade crime spree.

A court in central Hubei province handed down the sentence, bringing to an end one of the most highly publicised trials since President Xi Jinping took office in 2013.

Liu, who is suspected to have close family ties with China’s former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang, was sentenced to death along with his brother Liu Wei.

The Liu brothers’ gang, based in the southwestern province of Sichuan, killed eight people and wounded many others over nearly 20 years, the court said in a posting on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo.

“Liu Han and Liu Wei had extremely malicious intentions, their acts were exceptionally atrocious, their social influences were extremely vile and their crimes and the consequences were extremely serious,” it said.

“They should be severely punished according to the law.”

Another 31 people were given penalties ranging from suspended death sentences – normally commuted to life imprisonment – to three years in jail, state media said.

Sichuan is one of the power bases of Zhou Yongkang, who once enjoyed vast power as China’s security chief but is now at the centre of rumours about a corruption investigation.

He has not been seen in public for months.

State media have also hinted that the Liu brothers’ gang had connections to central government officials.

The court said they were “sheltered by staff members of state organs”.

Liu’s Hanlong group is a diversified firm with interests ranging from tourism to minerals, and has assets of more than €4 billion.

It launched a takeover bid of more than €1.4 billion for listed Australian iron ore company Sundance Resources in 2011.

But the deal collapsed last year after the Chinese firm failed to follow through. Chinese media reports said at the time that Liu had been detained.


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