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December 19, 2009

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Businessman gets death penalty for killing rival

A COURT in Heilongjiang Province yesterday sentenced a wealthy businessman to death for hiring others to kill an architect.

Wang Wenxiang, listed as one of Heilongjiang's top 10 businessmen and a standing committee member of the provincial political consultative conference, was handed the death penalty for murder along with the two hired killers, Bai Peng, 28, and Yu Yi, 25, Xinhua news agency reported.

Yu's sentence included a two-year reprieve, but the Harbin Intermediate People's Court did not explain why. The three were also ordered to pay 340,000 yuan (US$49,795) compensation to the victim's family.

The court found that Wang hired Bai and Yu to kill Zhong Yishi, 49, an architect and legal representative of a construction company, because he frequently filed lawsuits against Wang's real estate company. The company had amassed debts totaling more than 10 million yuan since 2001, the report said.

Wang decided to murder Zhong as he filed another lawsuit against Wang's company in 2008. The court heard that Wang told his secretary Bai to "deal with" Zhong. Police said Bai agreed as his normal salary could not support his family.

Bai lured his friend Yu into the scheme by saying his boss Wang would pay big money if they simply abducted Zhong.

Bai and Yu abducted Zhong in May and suffocated him to death. They stuffed his body in a car trunk and drove to a brick oven where they burnt the body. Wang never paid Bai and Yu.

Police said Yu only received 2,900 yuan before he was caught, the report said.


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