Home>News Center>Life

Last-minute reprieve saves billionaire from gunpoint
By Echo Shan (chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2005-11-11 10:32

All lives are equal and invaluable under the umbrella of the law, right?

Well, partially.

In the case against Beijing billionaire Yuan Baojing, life is priced at the handsome sum of 49.5 billion yuan (US$6 billion).

Yuan Baojing [baidu]
Reputed to be the "No 1 in the Chinese Stock Market," Yuan, 39, could have been executed October 14, courtesy of a death sentence for a murder conviction.

Unexpectedly, however, a last-minute stay of execution reportedly came at a sky-high price, and he was saved from the ultimate penalty.

In 1997, "inspired" by business partner Wang Xing, then a police officer in a northeastern city, Yuan suggested that Wang knock off an alleged fraudster who had caused him a 90-million-yuan loss in futures trade, offering him a booty of 160,000 yuan.

The agreement, which ultimately went unfulfilled, made Yuan and Wang turn against one another as Wang extorted Yuan repeatedly as a fee for keeping the failed killing scheme a secret.

A hit man hired by Yuan shot the blackmailer Wang to death near his home in October 2003. Yuan was convicted on having Wang killed and plotting the murder of another and sentenced to death by a court in China's northeastern Liaoning Province.

Yuan's wife, Zhuo Ma, a famous danceer and professor with Beijing-based Central University For Nationalities, and the couple's young son met with Yuan at the prison after the death sentence was suspended.

"He's doing fine and is in good spirits," she said.

Early in 2003 when Yuan Baojing was convicted, Zhuo Ma became entitled to all of his assets. She indicated she would now return the money to the State.

"He just wants to return the wealth to the society because of the sincere gratitude he holds for all it has given him. I am doing this on behalf of my husband," Zhuo Ma was quoted as saying in the North Morning Post on October 25.

Stipulated in the 342nd article of "The Litigation Law of the People's Republic of China," only under three conditions can a death penalty be suspended:

* There are factual mistakes involved.

* The defense submits crucial new evidence before the execution. For instance, the defense has important tips and evidence that calls into question the verdict, leading to a reconsideration of the case.

* The culprit is pregnant.

There are so far no official explanations issued by the judicature administration concerning Yuan's seemingly ungrounded death reprieve. His family members also have kept silent when asked why.

The no-comment stance has led the online community to have massive doubts about the fairness of the legal procedures in the case.

"Money speaks louder than the law," writes one online reader. "It can rewrite a death sentence. The self-asserted impartial law is in the hands of the super rich."

Yuan made his fortune with the Beijing-based Jianhao Group and was estimated to be worth more than 3 billion yuan (more than US$371 million) in 1996 at the age 30. He hailed from a rural family in Northeast China's Liaoning Province and graduated from the China University of political science and law in Beijing.

Jolie & Becks, gays 'dream partners'
Zeta-Jones has a 'killer' night in N.Y.
International Acrobatics Festival in Shijiazhuang
  Today's Top News     Top Life News

Beijing: Bush-Dalai Lama meeting negative



US$1.7b deals dominate Hu's German agenda



Three Chinese killed in Jordan bombing



US embassy retracts terror warning



Migratory birds come under microscope



China: Topping US in medals 'impossible'


  Last-minute reprieve saves billionaire from gunpoint
  Qualified Chinese economists no more than five?
  'Go-getter,' 18, ousts mayor in Michigan
  Geisha the person vs geisha the actress
  Brotherly love helps in times of trouble
  Microwave your bra to stay warm this winter
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
  Could China's richest be the tax cheaters?  
Manufacturers, Exporters, Wholesalers - Global trade starts here.