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Official arrested for mafia links

A HIGH-RANKING official of a Hubei Province city has been arrested for his involvement in a mafia operation, today's Changjiang Daily reported.

Huang Hongyan, assistant to the mayor of the province's Tianmen City, was arrested yesterday, the city government announced. But it did not elaborate.

The city's committee of the Chinese People's Congress, the country's lawmaker, had suspended Huang's CPC delegate membership before the arrest.

Huang, born in 1960s, was in charge of Tianmen's urban reconstruction and relocation work where the mafia operation was focused, the report said.

The operation's ringleader, Xiahou Sicong, and another 20 members were arrested late last year.

From January 2001 to November 2008, the gang used standover tactics to run the city's building materials, entertainment venues, beer, funeral cremation urns and real estate markets, according to prosecutors in Hubei's Jianli County.

Xiahou, who was born in 1972, started the mafia operation with gambling and loan sharking.

He had served with the local police after retiring from the army in 1990. He had been the director of the Yuekou Branch of the Tianmen Local Tax Bureau.


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