Sixteen in court on organized crime charges in Chongqing

08:01, May 28, 2010      

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Sixteen people appeared in court Thursday on violence and organized crime charges in the latest case to come out of the crackdown on criminal gangs in southwest China's Chongqing city.

Alleged gang leader Wang Guangcheng and 15 others were accused at a court in Dadukou District of intentional injury, operating a criminal gang, illegal business operations, unlawful detention, instigating affrays, and harboring drug criminals.

Prosecutors said the defendants had been involved in underworld gang activities, including violence and loan-sharking, since 2006.

They had illegally obtained 17 million yuan (2.5 million U.S. dollars) through usury, and injured two people, prosecutors said.

"They bullied residents, and severely disrupted the social, economic and market orders," prosecutors said.

The case was adjourned without a verdict to a later date.

During the massive organized crime crackdown beginning in June last year, Chongqing authorities arrested 1,176 people and prosecuted 782 involved in 78 criminal gangs.

A total of 87 officials were prosecuted in the crackdown, including 12 high-ranking officials.



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