A gang leader has been sentenced to death for charges including heading an underground organization and causing the death of a man in Jiujiang, Central China's Jiangxi Province.
At the same time, Jiujiang Intermediate People's Court yesterday handed down sentences to 15 other gang members, ranging from suspended death sentences to two years in prison.
Xiong Xinxing, 38, the gang leader, was found to have run a gambling business, loan frauds and carried out extortion since 1997, according to the court.
Xiong's gang also bought guns and absorbed new members to expand the underground organization, the court said.
Many local officials were involved in helping shield the gang's criminal activities.
The court said Xiong's gang was responsible for the deaths of three people and for seriously injuring five others.
It acquired loans totalling nearly 100 million yuan (US$12.5 million) from banks, without any plan to repay the money.
Xiong was once a chief consultant for various local companies, president of Jiayihua Investment Co Ltd in Guangdong Province and a member of a district committee of the CPPCC in Jiangxi's Fuzhou.
His followers took high-ranking roles in these companies and undertook illegal activities under a legal cover.
Xiong was arrested last year. A total of 21 gang members were detained afterwards.
Police also seized eight guns, 227 bullets, and a number of knives and swords. Gang assets worth 140 million yuan (US$17.5 million) were frozen.
One of Xiong's tactics was to hook in officials using a luxurious mansion.
The building was located in Fuzhou, with a floor space of more than 13.3 hectares, and offered "special services" to local officials.
The three-storey building provided sauna and massage services on the first floor, catering and dancing halls on the second and luxurious suites on the third.
Government officials that were involved in Xiong's illegal activities included both city-level officials and public security bureau staff.
Some of these officials have been given sentences and some are still under investigation.
Source: China Daily