Gang leader handed life sentence in NE China

Updated: 2011-12-30 15:53


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CHANGCHUN - A court in northeast China has issued a life sentence to the leader of a mafia-like gang, the latest life sentence issued amid authorities' nationwide crackdown on organized crime, court officials said Friday.

Xie Shiqiang, 45, was convicted by the Intermediate People's Court of Yanbian prefecture, Jili province on Thursday on charges of theft, instigation of public disturbance, and gang crimes. Xie's gang, which had roughly 70 members in its prime, had operated in the city of Dunhua since 1990s.

But the gang only caught police attention in May 2009, when Xie led about three dozen thugs to "settle" a land dispute in suburban Dunhua and hurt a villager. A police investigation into Xie's gang began in February 2010.

The court also ordered the confiscation of Xie's personal assets amounting to 400,000 yuan ($62,992). The gang's 17 core members were also given prison terms, court officials said.

China has been cracking down on mafia-style gangs over the past few years. The most notable achievements have been made in Southwest China's Chongqing municipality, with the takedown of a powerful judicial official who was found to be protecting multiple gangs.

Wen Qiang, 55, former director of the Chongqing Municipal Judicial Bureau, was executed in July 2010 on graft and gang-related charges.