CHENGDU: Seventeen government officials in Sichuan province have been found to have ties to criminal gangs since police intensified their crackdown on organized crime in 2006.
Xu Shenglin, former chief of the Wutongqiao District Bureau of Public Security in Leshan, and Li Changyun, the district's former chief procurator, are being tried in Leshan for covering up for a criminal gang and taking bribes.
According to the Sichuan Provincial Department of Public Security, the two high-ranking officials helped a gang leader evade punishment after he incited his members to kill an innocent person in 1995.
Xu allegedly abused his power to take bribes worth 62,000 yuan ($9,118) while Li has received 410,000 yuan.
Two other high-ranking officials, Ran Anyuan, former party chief of Yuanyang town, Cangxi county, and Wang Chaojin, former chief of Yuanyang town's committee for discipline inspection were sentenced to six years, and five years and five months in prison respectively because they shielded criminal gangs and took bribes. Cangxi public security bureau officials said that two gang leaders in Cangxi earned more than 2.5 million yuan while mining gold without permits.
To evade punishment, they offered bribes to Ran and Wang and shared profits with them. Ran and Wang often informed the two gang leaders before officers conducted on-the-spot checks of their mine, and they tried to prevent officers cracking down on the two gang leaders.
Backed by Ran and Wang, the criminal gang ran amuck and many farmers did not dare leave their homes at night and would shut their shops, said Sun Jianming, an official in the Sichuan Provincial Department of Public Security.
Since 2006, Sichuan police have captured 832 gang members, 32 guns and confiscated 150 million yuan from gangsters, he said.
His department has promised to remove local police chiefs who do not do their best in the crackdown and would hold them responsible if they protect gangs.
For public supervision, the department has announced its two telephone numbers 028-86303159 and 86301301 as well as an e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org.
(China Daily 09/17/2009 page4)