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September 9, 2016

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5 fake accident gang leaders executed

FIVE gang leaders, who killed four workers and made their deaths look like accidents to extort money from mine owners, have been executed, Hebei Provincial People’s Court said yesterday.

Zhang Weilan, Zhao Jun, Zhang Chengyong, Xu Chengde and Yan Shiyong were sentenced to death in August last year at Handan Intermediate People’s Court in north China’s Hebei Province. Appeals were rejected by the provincial higher court and China’s supreme court.

They led a gang of 21 members who swindled about 1.85 million yuan (US$278,000) in compensation from mine owners between July 2011 and June 2012.

The victims were given jobs in iron mines but then had their heads smashed in with rocks. Gang members used sticks and crowbars to cause a mine collapse, with falling rocks crushing the bodies.

Days after the “accidents,” members pretending to be relatives demanded compensation. Mine owners usually came to a private arrangement, fearful that their mines might have to close. However, one owner became suspicious about “relatives” who seemed solely concerned about money. He called the police and an investigation began.

All 21 were convicted. The ringleaders were sentenced to death. One member was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve while three others were sentenced to life in jail. The others received various jail terms.

Since the late 1990s, at least 44 people have been sentenced to death for murders they claimed were mining accidents, according to


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