China approves death penalty for 7 drug traffickers

Updated: 2007-06-25 21:08

The Supreme People's Court (SPC) on Monday announced its approval of the death penalty for seven drug traffickers, a day before the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

Gao Guijun, presiding judge of the Fifth Criminal Court under the Supreme People's Court, said that since the SPC took back the power of review over the death penalty on January 1, the SPC had strictly examined death penalty cases involving drug trafficking.

"Our approval of the death penalty regarding drug trafficking could stand the test of history," said Gao.

Ni Shouming, the SPC's spokesman, reiterated the court's resolute stance on fighting drug trafficking, saying the court would show no leniency in handing down heavy penalties to the kingpins of drug trafficking gangs and those who participate in cross-border drug crimes.

Three principals of a cross-border drug crime, Yan Hanlong, Li Zibin and Xiong Shiwei, were sentenced to death for the "extremely huge amount" of 42 kilograms of heroin they smuggled from Myanmar, according to the SPC statement.

Wang Guangyou was sentenced to death for organizing heroin trafficking that "caused a great harm to society", according to the SPC after it reviewed the death sentence issued by the Higher People's Court of Guizhou Province in southwest China.

Wang organized villagers in Guizhou to transport 806 grams of heroin from Kunming, southwest Yunnan Province. Police found five villagers, who tried to evade police inspection at train stations, had hidden the drugs internally.

Also sentenced to death was Zhang Hong'an, who had long been engaged in cross-border drug crimes as the leader of a trafficking gang, an SPC statement said.

The other two death penalties were given to Long Congbin, who had served imprisonment for drug trafficking before his latest conviction, and Guo Shichen, who was sentenced to death for trade of new types of drugs such as ecstasy and "magu", a Thai word for a stimulant drug that is a combination of methamphetamine and caffeine.

The SPC said Guo's trade of "magu" amounted to 1,275 grams, well above the standard for a death sentence.

Statistics from the SPC show that from January 2006 to May 2007, China's courts received 49,270 cases regarding drug crimes, handled 47,113 and convicted 55,671 criminals. Among them, 21,223 criminals, or 38 percent of the total, were given "heavy penalties", including the death penalty, life imprisonment and more than five years in prison.

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