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|Thursday, November 09, 2000, updated at 09:55(GMT+8)|
Courts Issue Verdicts on Xiamen CaseFive local intermediate people's courts November 8 sentenced 14 people to death, including three with a two-year reprieve, in the first verdicts on a major smuggling case in the east China port city of Xiamen.
Eighty-four were put on trial as the first batch of people involved in the case. The courts sentenced 12 of them to life imprisonment and gave various prison terms to 58 others.
Investigations found that the Lai Changxing smuggling group and others had smuggled refined oil, vegetable oil, cars and cigarettes worth 53 billion yuan (about 6.4 billion $US) and evaded customs duties of up to 30 billion yuan since 1996.
Twenty-five separate cases of multi-billion-dollar smuggling scam had been openly handled by intermediate people's courts in Xiamen, Fuzhou, Quanzhou, Zhangzhou and Putian cities of Fujian Province since September.
Those who were given death penalty were deprived of their political rights for life, with their personal property confiscated.
Officials from the central authorities formed a special task force in August 1999 to probe into the Lai Changxing smuggling group case.
The smuggling group had for years been engaged in rampant smuggling of goods, mainly oil products, vegetable oil, automobiles and cigarettes, through various means including avoiding customs declaration and making false reports on the nature of the deals or the names of the goods.
The group also used money and women to seduce a number of government officials for the convenience of their smuggling activities, which caused serious damage to the normal economic order, brought huge financial losses to the state, led to rampant corruption, and impaired the social, political and economic life in China.
According to the courts, details of the death penalties are as follows:
Yang Qianxian, the former head of Xiamen Customs, was charged with accepting bribes worth 1.4 million yuan from Lai Changxing and supporting a mistress with the financial assistance of Lai; neglecting his duties, letting rampant smuggling to have its own way in the Xiamen Customs area and causing heavy losses to the state; informing Lai when the case came under official investigations.
Zhuang Rushun, former deputy director of the provincial public security bureau of Fujian and the former director of the municipal public security bureau of Fuzhou, was charged with accepting 545, 500 yuan worth of bribes from Lai and others; informing Lai and telling him to flee abroad; directing others to issue false certificates on confiscated goods for 121 smuggled automobiles and bringing heavy losses to the state.
Lan Pu, former vice mayor of Xiamen, was convicted of accepting bribes worth 5 million yuan from Lai and others.
Ye Jichen, the former director of the Xiamen branch of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, was charged with accepting 2.95 million yuan of bribes and possessing 4.9 million yuan worth of property from unknown sources.
Wu Yubo, a former official of the Xiamen Customs in charge of vessels, was convicted of accepting 8.747 million yuan in bribery from Lai and others; neglecting his duties which caused the smuggling of oil products in large quantities; masterminding the attempt to destroy and conceal evidence related to the crimes of the Lai Changxing's group.
Fang Kuanrong, a colleague of Wu, was charged with accepting bribes worth 1.29 million yuan from Lai and others and giving convenience to Lai for his smuggling of oil products, and helping destroy and conceal criminal evidence concerning Lai's group.
Wang Jinting, Jie Peigong, Huang Shanying and Zhuang Mingtian were charged with collaborating with Lai's group in smuggling goods, and evading huge amount of custom duties.
Li Tuzhuan was convicted of organizing and introducing others to openly counterfeit 163 value-added tax invoices, resulting in the evasion of 17.5 million yuan in taxes.
Court sources said that Wang Kexiang, Huang Kezhen and Chen Wenyuan were sentenced to death with a two-year stay of execution.
Wang Kexiang, former chief of the liaison section of the Xiamen public security bureau, was convicted of smuggling oil products in collaboration with Lai's group, evading 17.66 million yuan in customs duties, and accepting 900,000 yuan in bribery from Lai.
Huang Kezhen and Chen Wenyuan, two backbone members in Lai's group for cigarette smuggling, were charged with smuggling common goods, and evading 3.689 billion yuan and 6.637 billion yuan in customs duties, respectively.
Liu Feng, a former deputy secretary of the Xiamen municipal committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), was sentenced to life in jail on charges of helping the group's smuggling activities with his political powers; accepting 456,000 yuan in bribery from Lai and others; possessing huge amount of properties from unknown sources.
Among those sentenced to life imprisonment were three convicted of accepting bribes, including Chen Guorong, the former head of the Fujian provincial branch of the Bank of China, Zhang Yongding, the former head of the second regiment of the Fujian provincial marine police headquarters, and Chen Yuqiang, a former official of the Xiamen Customs in charge of detecting smuggling activities.
Yan Liping, Li Songmou, Chen Guojun, Chen Yage, Chen Xiaohao, Li Zhonghua, Chen Zancheng and Zhu Fulong, were also sentenced to life in prison on charges of smuggling common goods.
Lai Yongqiang and Lai Changtu, brothers of Lai Changxing, were sentenced to seven years and 15 years in prison, respectively. Lai Yongqiang was ordered to pay a fine of 20 million yuan, while Lai Changtu's personal property would be confiscated.
The duo would have been given the death penalty, but were granted a reduced prison term due to assistance in uncovering the case, the courts said.
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