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December 2, 2009

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Gang trial opens in Chongqing

TWENTY-SIX suspected gangsters from the deadliest crime ring known in Chongqing Municipality went on trial yesterday for killing three people, operating a gambling syndicate that loaned 840 million yuan (US$123 million) at high interest rates and laundering 60 million yuan of illicit money.

Chen Zhiyi, the suspected mob boss, was also accused of raping a girl under 14 to bring him good luck at the poker table, Oriental Morning Post reported yesterday.

Some senior officials allegedly offered protection to the defendants.

Liu Xinyong, former vice governor of Chongqing's Yubei District, was their biggest client and was the highest-ranking official embroiled in the case, the report said.

Cai Shuqing, commissar of the third battalion of the Yubei police force's detective division, offered Chen tip-offs when he fled police during the city's crackdown on gangs that started in June, the newspaper said.

Cai was also the key figure who offered Chen help in dealing with two murders allegedly committed by his gang.

Chen was charged with setting up a casino network in Yubei's luxury hotels with local taxation official Deng Yuping starting in 2008.

Chen, Deng and their henchmen gained 30 million yuan from the business and offered loans at high interest rates to those who frequented the casinos, the report said.

They also opened a home decor company and a pawnshop to launder illicit money. The home decor firm transferred 60 million yuan while the pawnshop supplied casinos with cash and recorded gambling debts as its corporate debt.

The gang was charged with killing two people with a meat cleaver and stabbing another to death because they couldn't afford to pay gambling debts.

The trial was the latest step taken by Chongqing in its battle against organized crime.

Last Thursday, Chen Ming was executed after being convicted of organizing a crime ring that killed one person and injured eight others in the past decade.

Last month, Li Yi was sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined 1.01 million yuan for heading a gang.


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