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December 31, 2009

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Court ends rule of butcher mob

A MOBSTER known as the "Chongqing Butcher" was yesterday sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve and fined 100 million yuan (US$16.64 million) for leading a gang that controlled the southwest China city's pork market via stand-over tactics, violence and bribery.

Chongqing No. 5 Intermediate People's Court handed down the sentence on Wang Tianlun, 43, in another chapter in the crime crackdown that has uncovered widespread government and police involvement in "black societies."

One of Wang's henchmen, Tang Youbing, also received a suspended death sentence.

Another 21 gang members who stood trial with Wang were jailed for between one and 20 years.

The court said the city's former deputy police chief and justice bureau director, Wen Qiang, took bribes to help cover up Wang's crimes.

Wen, who faces a separate trial on charges of rape, bribery and offering protection to gangs, reportedly hooked up with Wang through six fellow corrupt police officers.

Wang's company controlled almost half of the city's pork market for more than 10 years by means of extortion, violence and bribes.

Included in his holdings was the Chongqing Jinpu Food Company, one of the best-equipped slaughterhouses in southwestern China.

Wang started his gang in 1996 with his brother, Wang Dongmin, and brother-in-law, Li Canghai.

They used stand-over tactics to make most of the farmers in Chongqing send their pigs to his abattoir.

Almost half of Chongqing's pork sellers were forced to buy meat from Wang's company.

Wang ordered gang members to club to death a butcher surnamed Pan because he killed his own pigs in 2003, the court heard.

Wen said Wang paid him 200,000 yuan to "make the murder case go away." The case was buried for two years after he took the bribe.


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