Gang used nightclub as base, court told

By Wang Huazhong (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-01-13 08:11
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CHONGQING: A mafia-style gang funded its criminal activities with a prostitution business operated from a number of the city's luxurious entertainment venues, a court was told yesterday.

Gang used nightclub as base, court told

Alleged gang boss Yue Ning and his 30 accomplices went on trial at Chongqing No 1 Intermediate People's Court, where they faced charges of participation in a criminal gang, illegal detention and possession of firearms among other crimes.

Prosecutors said 41-year-old Yue and his gang, established in 1998, harbored prostitutes in nightclubs, bars and beauty salons in the city's Yuzhong and Nan'an districts.

"The business raked in enough money to finance the gang's functioning," the indictment said, adding that the gang bribed government officials for protection from the law.

"The gang's illegal activities tyrannized and persecuted the local public," the indictment said.

Yue's alleged gang is the latest to stand trial in Chongqing following a police crackdown on mafia-style organizations last June. Many have been accused of using posh entertainment venues to stage criminal activities.

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The court was told that Yue started a "members-only" nightclub called the White House in an international five-star hotel chain in Yuzhong district in 2001. The club was shut down after his arrest last June.

In a separate trial, alleged gang boss Chen Minglian was accused of running a prostitution racket from the Yunmengge nightclub, inside a hotel in Yuzhong district.

Xie Caiping, sister-in-law of the city's former director of justice bureau, told the court during an earlier trial on gambling offenses: "The seemingly riskiest places are the most safe for our businesses. Wherever you see luxury, be sure there's gambling."

Xie was found guilty of operating 10 gambling dens since 2004.

Fang Jianjiang, 24, said: "There is no doubt the reputation of major hotels is taking a blow. But if they think ahead, they'll see a cleaner business environment."