XI'AN: Ten people, including one government official and two policemen, have been jailed on charges of organized crime, intentional injury, extortion and bribery by a court in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province.
However, while admitting to some of the crimes, the defendants plan to appeal against the verdict.
According to Shangnan County People's Court, the group started their illegal activities in 1992. They seriously injured 33 people and collected profits of 12.55 million yuan (US$1.55 million) before being arrested in 2004.
Chen Haojun, 46, former head of Xiguan Village in Shangzhou district, was charged as the head of the criminal group and sentenced to 20 years in jail.
His younger brother Chen Hongjun, 35, and nephew Chen Chao, 28, both police officers, were considered the main members of the group, the court said.
The seven other people were also relatives.
The court also confiscated property worth 5 million yuan (US$625,000), Zhao Fengcai, director of Shangnan County People's Court, told China Daily on Saturday.
However, the 10 said they would appeal against the decision, the court official said.
Xuan Jun, one of the defence lawyers, said he did not believe this was a case of organized crime.
" The Chens, despite committing a number of crimes with the same group of people, carried out activities in an unplanned manner. They did so with a traditional family clan mentality, not like an organized criminal gang."
However, the public prosecutor found that the Chens, with three companies established and managed by the family, fitted the mould of an organized gang, the indictment said.
(China Daily 06/05/2006 page3)