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Beijing judges to tackle economic crimes
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09:22, January 16, 2009

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Judges in Beijing will make more effort this year to stop economic crimes such as illegal fundraising, the city's top judge and prosecutor said yesterday.

"Maintaining social stability and strictly dealing with financial crimes are top of the courts' agenda," city's top judge Chi Qiang said in a work report delivered at the ongoing 2nd session of the 13th Beijing municipal people's congress.

The Beijing municipal high people's court is still looking into the city's biggest-ever pyramid scheme, which involved more than 1.6 billion yuan ($234 million), he said.

Since 2004, the Yilin Wood Co is alleged to have swindled more than 20,000 people across the country, including 17,000 from Beijing, he said.

Police evidence shows the company cheated investors by promising them high rates of return on their investments in forestry plots.

Meanwhile, the Beijing municipal high people's procuratorate has completed its investigation into a case of illegal fundraising, Mu Ping, president of the procuratorate, said.

It found that the Beijing Bixi Furniture Square Co Ltd based in the Fengtai district of the city conned 5,000 people out of more than 760 million yuan.

Prosecutors also looked into another case, in which Beijing-based Meizhongrong Investment and Consultancy Co Ltd cheated 15 million yuan from 320 people.

Qiu Baochang, dean of the Beijing-based Huijia law firm, said that in cases of illegal fundraising, the courts must try to retrieve as much of the lost money as possible, and always punish the perpetrators severely.

"Cases involving pyramid schemes must be handled in a way that promotes social stability, as they often involve a large number of people and a lot of money," he said.

Last year, Beijing's courts dealt with 22,731 criminal cases, up 3.1 percent on 2007, and sentenced 23,355 people, up 6.9 percent.

Meanwhile, courts and prosecutors have intensified the prevention and investigation of job-related crimes.

The city prosecuted 67 officials of county level and municipal level for corruption last year.

Six other officials of county level and above were prosecuted for dereliction of duty, Mu said.

Source: China Daily

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