Shenyang gang leader Liu Yong gets death penalty

Liu Yong, the kingpin of an underworld organization based in Shenyang, capital of northeast China's Liaoning Province, was executed immediately after being given the death penalty here Monday.

China's Supreme People's Court (SPC), for the first time, retried an ordinary criminal case, and overturned the previous ruling of the second-instance trial.

According to the final ruling by the SPC, Liu was sentenced to death for the crime of "willful bodily injury," with deprivation of his political rights, and fined 15 million yuan.

Liu was also convicted of organizing and leading a crime ring, property sabotage, illegal business operations, bribery, gun possession and interference in law enforcement.

At the retrial, the SPC found that Liu had committed 31 crimes,including 13 counts of willful bodily injury, four counts of deliberate damage to property worth a total of 33,090 yuan, one count of illegal business dealings valued at 72 million yuan, one count of illegal possession of weapons, and six counts of bribing government officials with 1.27 million yuan in cash and goods.

He and his thugs were also involved in violence causing one death, five serious injuries, four cases of handicapping and eightinvolving slight injuries, the court was told.

Liu was sentenced to death and fined 15 million yuan by the Tieling Intermediate People's Court in April 2002, but won a two-year reprieve in August this year upon appeal to the Liaoning Provincial Higher People's Court.

The Liaoning Provincial Higher People's Court explained in its ruling that it "could not remove the possibility that Liu's confession had been extracted through torture."

However, the SPC said that such an explanation was not sufficient to exempt Liu from execution based on the evidence brought to the court hearing.

Dr. He Bing, an associate professor at the China University of Political Science and Law, said that the SPC's move, in response to public outcries, was in line with the law and a positive step in safeguarding justice.

Liu's crime ring had terrorized Shenyang for a decade, and his downfall led to convictions of dozens of high-ranking officials inthe city for bribe-taking and other offenses.

People's Daily Online ---