'Mafia boss in uniform' on trial for abuse of power

09:39, November 13, 2009      

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The prosecution of the man that locals call the "mafia boss in police uniform" began Wednesday on 19 charges of abusing power and organizing and protecting gangs in Tonghua, Jilin province.

Wang Yufan, 47, is the former director of Tonghua's public security bureau. He and four other police officers - Zhang Xiuwen, Liu Jianhui, Yu Jinguo, Li Yonggen - are among 30 suspects on trial at the Liaoyuan Intermediate People's Court.

He is accused of asking his fellow officers, including Zhang and Liu, to organize mafia-like gangs. The 19 charges against Wang also include abduction, forgery, illegal transportation, storing ammunition, illegal possession of guns, blackmail, accepting bribes, organizing prostitution, gambling, corruption, business coercion, injuring others, selling drugs and illegal occupation of land.

Zhang, Wang's right-hand man, is the former director of the police bureau of Tonghua county and is charged with embezzlement and accepting bribes.

Court officials said the trial could go on for three days starting today due to the case's complex nature. In addition to a 41-page indictment to examine, there are 61 volumes of investigation files.

Prosecutors said Wang abused his power as an official and hunted for personal interests.

In 2003, after learning that a local school was moving to another site, real-estate developer Liu Yingming saw an opportunity in the school's original site.

Short of cash, Liu allegedly went to Wang for help, asking him to collect money from city police officers in exchange for constructing residential housing for them. The return, Liu claimed, would be half of the profit from the housing, according to the prosecution.

Wang rounded up police officers on Liu's behalf in the city's Dongchang police bureau to pay for the future housing, prosecutors said. He also allegedly used his position to avoid a slew of procedural fees that Liu should have paid.

Once construction began, Wang reportedly sent Zhang to ask Liu for money. From July to October of 2007, Zhang allegedly asked Liu for payment 19 times and received 13.8 million yuan ($2 million) altogether. Zhang is said to have given Wang 7 million yuan and kept the rest.

In December 2007, Qi Baozhong and Teng Zhijian, two alleged members of Wang's gang, were detained. Learning of the detainment, Wang ordered that the police bureau drop the case.

In 2009, Wang asked Zhang and Zhang's followers to threaten and beat Wang Zhiqiang, a shareholder of a coal mine, and his family, to force him into selling his shares, prosecution said.

Source:China Daily
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