Chongqing's crackdown on gangs to continue

By Wang Huazhong (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-01-23 11:51
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CHONGQING: A total of 348 people have been convicted for their involvement in mafia-style gangs since police started cracking down on organized crime last June.

The southwest municipality's gang-crushing operation had shocked the nation as many top officials from the city's police departments, courts and procuratorates were arrested and convicted of accepting bribes from gangs to shield them from the law.

According to the annual report of the president of Chongqing people's high court, the number of convictions in 2009 was up 208 percent annually.

Altogether, 897 government officials were found guilty of job-related crimes last year, an annual increase of 36.3 percent.

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"The crackdown on mafia-style gangs and the task to eradicate corruption were pushed forward simultaneously last year," Yu Min, procurator-general of the municipality's high procuratorate said at the local People's Congress.

"The municipal procuratorate had intentionally set up an intelligence team to clamp down on job-related crimes," she said.

Yu added the method of "cross-regional investigation" was adopted for the crackdown.

She said 87 officials were legally punished during the gang-crushing operation.

Former mayor of the city, Wang Hongju, had said earlier that about 200 officials were embroiled in the operation.

Both heads of the two law enforcement bodies on Friday said they would strengthen team-building efforts and ensure justice.

"We will face all problems and difficulties, summarize and learn from situations to clear the ground that nurtures corruption," said Qian Feng, president of Chongqing Higher People's Court.

Even though some judges, who had been put on trial for suspected crimes, "caused serious impact on the image of court", local People's Congress' initiatives to arrest the corrupt also generated positive impact, Qian said.

"I'd rather think the two tasks achieved politically, socially and legally positive results," said Luo Hong, a deputy from Peiling district.

"The tasks showed laws had been enforced fairly," she said.

Another deputy, Xu Zhongwei added:"I believe the residents' confidence in the government and in the judiciary has increased. Because they know that things are a lot better after the bad guys were removed from their posts," he said.

The court president said the crack down on gangs would continue in 2010.

The local government budget report submitted to the conference showed the city had allocated 2.99 billion yuan ($437 million) for public security tasks including anti-terrorism, gang-crushing and safe production.

But the proposed public security budget for 2010, which awaits the conference's approval, falls to 2.68 billion.

The report also said 2,823 people were convicted of crimes involving guns and explosives last year- registering a 201.3 percent increase annually.