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November 25, 2009

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'Mafia' boss cop gets death

A COURT in northeast China sentenced a former police director yesterday to death with two years' reprieve for 15 crimes including leading a mafia-like gang and bribery.

Liaoyuan City Intermediate People's Court in Liaoning Province also found Wang Yufan, former vice director of Tonghua City's public security bureau, guilty of selling drugs, extortion, assault and power abuse.

Two of Wang's former fellow officers, Zhang Xiuwen and Liu Jianhui, were sentenced to life imprisonment. Another 27 criminals who stood trial with Wang for their roles in his gang were sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. Wang, Zhang and Liu have filed appeals.

Wang argued in court that he didn't know most of the people on trial with him and said he was not a gang leader.

He did admit that he was a "shame of the police system."

Wang, 47, was known by Tonghua locals as the "mafia boss in police uniform" because he and his fellow officers not only protected local crime organizations, but also used their power to extort businessmen for money.

An unnamed police officer who worked with Wang said he seldom wore police uniform in his work. He preferred black shirts and jackets, reported New Culture View, a local newspaper, in July.

Tonghua police were ordered by Wang to shut down local bath and massage centers for prostitution as a way to solicit bribes from the centers' bosses, according to the province's news Website

A victim called Zhu Wenjie said he paid Wang 600,000 yuan over three years hoping he would stop messing with his business.

In 2009, Wang asked Zhang to threaten and beat Wang Zhiqiang, a shareholder of a coal mine, and his family to force him into selling his shares, prosecution said, according to the indictment.

The court said during Wang's tenure from 2002 to 2009, he embezzled 2.4 million yuan (US$351,000) and took bribes worth 15.7 million yuan ($2.3 million).


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