Billionaire given death penalty for murder

09:07, December 19, 2009      

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Billionaire Wang Wenxiang was sentenced to death Friday for hiring two people to murder a former business partner.

Wang, 49, a native of Heilongjiang Province, was convicted of having contracted the killing to his personal secretary Bai Peng and a migrant worker Yu Yi, according to the court verdict handed down by the Municipal Intermediate People's Court of Harbin, the provincial capital.

The court also sentenced Bai to death and gave death penalty with a two-year reprieve to Yu over charges of murder and theft.

The three were ordered to pay 340,000 yuan (49,786 U.S. dollars) in compensation to the victim Zhong Yishi, who ran a construction company that began doing business with Wang 10 years ago.

Wang and Zhong had a rancor over defaulted payments for a project that ended up in court in 2004. Wang's company was ordered to pay 10 million yuan to Zhong in compensation.

In December last year, Zhong brought another lawsuit against Wang on other issues related to the construction properties, which motivated Wang to plan the kidnapping and murder.

Bai and Yu were caught on videotape strangling the man in an underground car garage and putting him in a trunk on May 18. Yu put a rope around Zhong's neck while Bai sealed Zhong's mouth and tied up his hands with tape.

They put the victim into the trunk of the car and drove to an abandoned brick kiln, where they burned the body and took 4,000 yuan they found on the body.

Bai hired Yu to assist him in the killing, while Wang was responsible for covering the fees.

Wang, graduated from Tsinghua University, a top university in China, and was the political consultative conference member of Heilongjiang province. His Xinheng Corporation was involved in a range of industries including real estate, power, wholesale and retail. According to its website, the fixed assets of the company reached over 1 billion yuan.

Source: Xinhua
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