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Car smuggling gang leader gets death penalty
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08:13, November 23, 2007

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The leader of a smuggling ring was given the death penalty, suspended for two years, in south China's Guangdong Province on Thursday after being convicted of smuggling 2,043 cars and evading taxes of 223.7 million yuan (29.8million U.S. dollars).

Chen Naizhi, 32, originally from Jiujiang Township in Nanhai District of Guangdong's Foshan City -- now a Canadian national -- also had all of his assets confiscated under the sentence handed down by the Municipal Intermediate People's Court of Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province.

Twenty-two members of Chen's ring, most of whom were his relatives and friends, were also sentenced on Thursday to jail terms of as long as 15 years. They were also fined between 1,000 yuan and 200,000 yuan.

The group was accused of buying cars in Hong Kong and smuggling them into China via Vietnam between February 2004 and August 2005,the court heard.

Chen, pretending to work for an American company, signed an agreement with a Vietnamese car assembly firm. He and his accomplices brought the cars into south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region via Vietnam, it heard.

To sell the cars, the smugglers pretended to be transport authorities. They stole information about legal cars and made fake license plates, the court heard.

Chen and 12 members of the group were arrested on Sept. 17, 2005 in his hometown. The other 10 accomplices were arrested later that year.

Local media said Thursday that it was the "No. 1 case of Chinese auto smuggling."

The vehicles smuggled by the group were mostly luxury cars from such makers as Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and BMW. The cars were sold everywhere in China, except the southwestern Tibet Autonomous Region, according to the Guangzhou-based Yangcheng Evening News.

"Of the smuggled cars, many are still in service," the paper said.

$Source: Xinhua



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