Chinese court backs death sentence for gang boss

10:00, May 25, 2010      

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A local high court has upheld the death sentence for a gang chief who was convicted of running a mafia-style ring engaged in prostitution, drug-trafficking, gambling, kidnapping, among other crimes, in a southwestern China metropolitan.

The Chongqing Municipal Higher People's Court Monday rejected the appeals of Chen Mingliang and members of his gang after a second trial.

Chen, 52, was handed death without reprieve on Feb. 4, 2010 after the Third Intermediate People's Court of Chongqing convicted him on seven counts of charges at the first trial. The verdict will be forwarded to the Supreme People's Court for a final review.

Thirty-two members of Chen's crime gang received sentences ranging from death to nine months in prison. The court said the gang "seriously disturbed" the social and economic orders in Chongqing and the crimes had left "serious impacts" on the society.

In 2001, Chen set up a club named Cloud and Dream House in downtown Chongqing with Ma Dang and Lei Deming -- two other convicts in the case, the court said. They hired a group of the jobless and released prison inmates to form a mafia-style gang.

Over the next eight years, Chen's gang engaged in mob fights, kidnapping, running a brothel, trafficking at least 16,000 grams of narcotics, organizing illegal gambling tours and bribing officials, the court found.

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