Police arrest 37 gangsters in gang crackdown

Updated: 2007-06-22 22:44

SHIJIAZHUANG -- Chinese police have arrested 37 alleged gang members on a series of charges including theft, intimidation and illegal detention of firearms in north China's Hebei Province.

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Police in Tangshan city seized 330 rounds of ammunition and 35 firearms, including 19 sporting guns and four small-bore rifles, a spokesman with the Hebei Provincial Department of Public Security told Xinhua on Friday.

Alleged ringleader Yang Shukuan and his accomplices were also charged with operating a criminal gang, intimidation, theft, fraud, inciting violence, fighting in public and disorder.

Yang is suspected of swindling more than 180 million yuan (US$23.5 million) from four companies and an individual since May 2005.

A company in neighboring Tianjin municipality was suing the Huayun Industrial Group Co. Ltd. owned by Yang for failing to pay debts of 320 million yuan (US$42 million).

"The gang gravely disrupted life in Tangshan, especially in Guye District and Qianxi County," the spokesman said, noting that police had investigated 40 crimes allegedly linked to the gang.

The industrial city of Tangshan, 200 kilometers east of Beijing, is famous for having been struck by one of the deadliest earthquakes of the 20th century. Measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, the monster earthquake killed 242,000 people and injured 164,000 others in 1976.

Yang, 38, of the Hui ethnic group, was a political advisor for the Tangshan municipal government. His gang came into existence in 1998 when he gathered a group of ex-convicts and unemployed people. In May 2000, Yang founded the Huayun Industrial Group Co. Ltd. with a registered capital of 100 million yuan (US12.5 million) as a cover for his organized crimes. The company was involved in trading, textiles, food and mining.

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