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China sentences tea-house gang boss to death, 50 members jailed

(Xinhua)

15:52, September 24, 2011

CHANGSHA, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- A court has sentenced the boss of a mafia-like gang operating in tea houses in central China to death and the gang's 50 members to varying prison terms, local officials said Saturday.

The Intermediate People's Court of Xiangtan, Hunan Province, linked the gang led by Wang Yongzhong to gambling, drug trafficking, assaults and holding people against their will, from which the group profited more than 10 million yuan (1.6 million U.S. dollars) at Friday's mass trial.

Wang opened his first tea house in Xiangtan in 1998 and from there he built his network, authorities said. The gang ran into trouble after Wang called his subordinates to attack a local villager's home, killing the owner and injuring three others in 2010.

Wang was sentenced to death Friday and was ordered by the court to pay a fine of 2 million yuan.

The court also sentenced the primary attacker in the 2010 case Zhang Dijun to death but gave him a two year reprieve.

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