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February 5, 2010

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2 Chongqing mobsters get death

A GANG boss and his right-hand man were sentenced to death yesterday for leading a mafia-like mob that ran the most prominent prostitution den in southwest China's Chongqing City.

Chen Mingliang, "the richest gang boss in Chongqing," and his top aide Zhou Yong received the sentences in the city's No.3 Intermediate People's Court, amid sentences for 33 people.

Two other gang leaders, Lei Deming and Ma Dang, were sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve and life imprisonment, respectively. Gang member Li Jiabin was also sentenced to death with reprieve, which is generally reduced to life imprisonment if no new crime is committed during the probationary period.

Another 28 members, convicted of crimes including gambling, drug trafficking, intentional insult and illegal imprisonment, will face jail time ranging from nine months to 17 years.

Chen, Lei, and Ma said immediately that they will appeal the court sentence.

The judge in the case said Zhou received a death sentence, though he was not the leader of the gang, because he took charge of drug trafficking three times during 2005 and 2009 without Chen's knowledge.

The death sentences were the latest moves in the sweeping crackdown of Chongqing's criminal rings. Seven mob bosses have been sentenced to death so far and another four were given a reprieved death penalty.

The verdict came two days after Chongqing's former police chief Wen Qiang went on trial for rape and accepting a large amount of bribes in exchange for protecting the city's extensive gang network.

The court said Chen started the gang in 2001 with Lei and Ma, operating from the Yun Meng nightclub.

Chen directed the gang to turn the nightclub into a brothel. More than 100 women worked as prostitutes in the club every day, earning the gang more than 26 million yuan (US$3.8 million), before the police shut the operation down.

Chen amassed more than 60 million yuan by financing businessmen's gambling jaunts to Macau and charging them high interest. Those who couldn't afford to repay were beaten up or threatened.


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