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Feted killer of triad head sentenced to death
By Zheng Caixiong (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-10-21 05:46

GUANGZHOU: Despite more than 10,000 Zhaoqing residents' signatures asking for lenient treatment, Liang Jinguo has been sentenced to death for murdering triad chief Long Jiefeng.

The ruling was passed by Zhaoqing Intermediate People's Court in Guangdong Province on Wednesday.

But Liang's lawyer, Shao Shuqiang, insists his client's punishment is too severe for a killing many see as Long's just deserts.

The murdered triad chief was responsible for many crimes in Sihui, a city under the administration of Zhaoqing.

However, the court ruled that Liang was himself a gangster, killing Long to avenge a previous attack on members of his own gang.

Long was killed in a restaurant in the city of Sihui on February 24 this year.

Liang killed the 28-year-old triad chief with three shots fired from a motorcycle.

Long, who used to be a local police officer, established his triad gang, Longxingshe, in 1999, recruiting up to 150 members.

The gang's crimes included murder, robbery, prostitution, and operating underground casinos and unlicensed banks.

After Long's death, police smashed the gang, detaining 17 suspects and seizing three cars and many weapons.

Liang's lawyer said yesterday that his 23-year-old client acted in self-defence because Long had threatened his life.

The punishment should be reduced because Liang had "ridded the people of an evil by killing Long," he added.

But the court refused to accept Shao's mitigation.

Xie Tian'en, a judge from the court, said Liang had committed a serious murder and should be punished according to the law.

"Liang is not in the right position to rid the people of an evil by killing Long," said Xie. "Liang did not go to the police when he was threatened by Long, his act of revenge was against the law."

Everybody has to abide by the law, he added.

Liang has a criminal background and was convicted of intentional injuring in 2001, for which he served three years in jail.

His two accomplices in the murder, Liang Jianwen and Tan Kaixin, were sentenced to 12 and 3 years respectively.

According to his lawyer, Liang Jinguo will appeal the decision to a higher court.

Many local Sihui residents reportedly cheered when they learned of Long's death and the collapse of his gang.

(China Daily 10/21/2005 page3)

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