Lawyers under fire for defending gangs

08:40, December 07, 2009      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

A growing number of Beijing attorneys are being hired to defend alleged perpetrators of organized crime in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, as local lawyers have come under fire from the public and are facing restrictions in contacting their clients.

Yang Kuangsheng, a senior attorney from the Beijng-based Zhongtong law firm, is expected to defend Wen Qiang, former head of the judicial administrative bureau of Chongqing, the Beijing News reported Sunday.
Wen, arrested September 24 on allegations of protecting underworld organizations and taking bribery of reportedly more than 10 million yuan ($1.47 million), is the most senior official targeted in Chongqing's crackdown on criminal syndicates and their "protective umbrellas."

Yang, who defended another local high-ranking official charged with bribery in February, said he has not received any official notice about the definite place and time of the trial, the paper reported.

Several well-known Beijing lawyers will also to go to Chonqing to defend alledged gang members. Xuan Dong, an experienced lawyer who worked on three organized crime cases in Liaoning, Henan and Beijing, said he was not aware of the dates of the trial of his client.

Defense attorney Zhao Changqing has been condemned by netizens as "an evil adviser of organized crime" after entering a not-guilty plea for his client Li Qiang, who in October faced nine charges of organizing and leading mafia groups, disturbing social order and criminal operation.
"The public's rage toward organized crime is understandable, but the denunciation of lawyers can only reflect a failure of legal education in China," the 75-year-old Zhao told Time Weekly earlier this month.

Zhou Litai, 43, a local lawyer defending an alleged gang member, became the first target of furious netizens after he warned against the expansion of the crackdown on organized crime.

"Defense lawyers are not representing organized gangs. Defense leads to justice," Zhou said, emphasizing the importance of "different voices" for the realization of real justice and criticizing some Web users as "an opinion mob."

Zhou, however, denied that there were any local lawyers forced to drop out by pressure from the public and local government, saying many local defense lawyers were involved in many other cases.

"Families of the suspects may believe lawyers in Beijing have better professional skills and have means to work around local restrictions," Zhou said.

Source:Global Times

[1] [2]

  • Do you have anything to say?
Special Coverage
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
Most Popular
Hot Forum Dicussion