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"Sand Boss" given suspended death in southwest China

(Xinhua)

20:04, December 30, 2011

CHONGQING, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- A Chongqing municipality court Friday handed down a death sentence with a two-year reprieve to a ringleader of a gang that allegedly controlled the local sand market.

In the city's latest trial on criminal gangs, Li Zhi was convicted of ten offenses related to gang activities, including murder, gun ownership and trafficking, coercive trading, and bribery by the Chongqing No.1 Intermediate Court.

According to the court ruling, Li organized the gang in 2004 and, after a series of violent crimes and bribery, monopolized the production and sale of construction-use sand in the Changshou district of Chongqing.

In addition, Li bribed two local officials, who in exchange offered protection for Li's gang, said the ruling.

The court has ordered the confiscation of 9 million yuan (1.4 million U.S. dollars) of Li's personal assets and deprived him of political rights for life.

Friday's trial also sent 19 of Li's gang members and the two officials to prison.

On Wednesday, another court in Chongqing tried 18 gang members for monopolizing the pork market and pushing up prices.

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