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|Saturday, February 24, 2001, updated at 11:36(GMT+8)|
Seven Xiamen Smugglers ExecutedRatified by China's Supreme People's Court, Wang Jinting and six other people convicted of involvement in a major smuggling case were executed Friday in the east China coastal cities of Xiamen, Fuzhou and Quanzhou.
The seven also had their political right deprived and personal property confiscated.
According to court investigations, during the period 1996 to 1998, Wang Jinting, Jie Peigong, Huang Shanying and Zhuang MingtianF collaborated with a gang headed by Lai Changxing to smuggle cigarettes, cars, refined oils and rubber, by avoiding customs declaration and making false reports.
Wang evaded customs duties of 35.79 million yuan (about US$4.3 million) on smuggled oil. Jie smuggled natural rubber and water heaters, evading customs duties of 26.6 million yuan. Huang participated in the smuggling of cigarettes, evading customs duties of 5.78 billion yuan. Zhuang was convicted for illegal purchasing and selling of smuggled cigarettes and cars, evading customs duties of 96.56 million yuan.
Li Tuzhuan was found guilty of organizing the counterfeiting of 163 value-added tax invoices, resulting in the evasion of 15.72 million yuan in customs duties.
Wu Yubo, a former official of Xiamen Customs, was convicted of accepting 8.75 million yuan in bribes from Lai Changxing and others, resulting in the smuggling of oil products in large quantities, and masterminding an attempt to destroy or conceal evidence related to the crimes of Lai Changxing's gang.
Ye Jichen, former director of the Xiamen branch of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, was charged with taking 2. 95 million yuan in bribes and possessing 4.9 million yuan-worth of property from unknown sources.
The intermediate people's courts in cities of Xiamen, Fuzhou and Quanzhou openly handled the cases, respectively, and sentenced the seven to death in the first verdicts on November 8 last year. The seven accused appealed to the Fujian Provincial Higher People' s Court, which rejected their appeals and reported to the Supreme People's Court for ratification of the death penalties.
Court sources said that after the first verdicts on the 25 separate cases of the multi-billion-dollar smuggling scam were handed down, Yang Qianxian, Zhuang Rushun, Lan Pu and 46 other defendants, and one defendant unit, also appealed, while 28 defendants, including Liu Feng and Lai Changtu, and nine defendant units, gave themselves up. The Higher People's Court will issue the second verdicts after investigation and verification of clues to other suspects provided by Yang Qianxian, Zhuang Rushun, Lan Pu, Fang Kuanrong and other defendants.
The Higher People's Court found that the punishment for Chen Jianluan, former deputy head of the Fujian branch of the Bank of China, for his taking of bribes and illegal issuing of financial bills was inappropriate, for he was not personally responsible for the crime. So Chen's 18-year life sentence was changed to 16 years, while the order to confiscate his property remains valid.
All the other appeals were turned down, according to court sources.
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