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February 2, 2010

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Gangsters sentenced to death over 3 murders, other crimes

TWO men, including a former police chief, were sentenced to death yesterday in Chongqing for running a gang that was found guilty of 12 charges including three murders, intentional injury, and forced trades.

Former police officer Yue Cun, 47, and his right-hand man Yin Zhiwei were sentenced to death by Chongqing No.5 Intermediate People's Court. Yue was also fined 150 million yuan (US$21.96 million), Chongqing Morning Post reported. It is not known whether they would appeal.

Thirty-eight other gang members were also sentenced in the trial. One of them was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve. Three were sentenced to life in prison and the others received jail terms ranging from 2 to 20 years. The gang was found responsible for three murders.

The court said Yue, the former director of Nanbin Road Police Station in Chongqing's Nan'an District, started the gang in 1996 after he controlled a cinema. He used violence to edge out competitors in the district and started to recruit former convicts and retired soldiers to his gang while he was still a police officer.

In 2001, Yue opened about a dozen loansharking companies in the city. These companies also provided private detective services, which is banned in China. The companies pulled in more than 50 million yuan for Yue and earned him the nickname "Underground Agent 007."

These companies sent out "detectives" to stalk real estate bosses and government officials. The detectives collected personal secrets and used them to extort money.

Yue's gang was strictly organized with nine branches and five sets of rules, according to the main judge. In May 2004, Yue ordered more than 200 gang members to clash with police over a business conflict. A former colleague said Yue loved to show off. He drove a BMW despite only having a monthly salary of 2,000 yuan, the report said. He became a millionaire after he retired from the police force in 2004.

Chongqing's former police chief Wen Qiang goes on trial today. He was charged with rape and bribery.


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