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February 22, 2010

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Court told of gang's link to police chief

AN alleged gang leader and a former anti-gang police chief in Chongqing Municipality went on trial yesterday for taking part in a mafia-style crime ring that ran Internet casinos and made money from prostitution.

Wang Xiaojun and 22 alleged gang members appeared at the No. 5 Intermediate People's Court in the southwestern China city. He faces nine charges related to the gang.

Li Hanbin, a former police chief in charge of a crackdown on gangs, faces charges of taking bribes in return for protecting Wang's gang. The trial will last four days, the court said.

Chongqing prosecutors said Wang's gang had operated casinos on the Internet since 2001 and earned more than 20 million yuan (US$2.9 million) from gamblers.

With the money gained in virtual casinos, Wang started two game rooms in Chongqing for gamblers. In 2004, Wang began to recruit gang members, mostly ex-convicts, and started a nightclub that provided space for prostitutes. Wang gained more than 60 million yuan from these activities, prosecutors said.

Wang used the gang members to edge out other competitors and "discipline" his staff. Any nightclub worker who broke Wang's rules would be beaten up.

The gang was also held responsible for killing one person and injuring another during a brawl with competitors, the court heard. The victims' names were not revealed.

Prosecutors said Wang's gang was also guilty of tax invasion of more than 10.61 million yuan.

Wang's nightclub went unchecked for more than five years as he was good at seeking protection from authorities with bribes, reported locally based

Li was given more than 260,000 yuan in cash and other gifts.


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