China executes billionaire oil tycoon for running a mafia-style business

World Today

Former mining tycoon Liu Han on trial at a court in Xianning City, central China’s Hubei Province, Aug. 7, 2014. (Photo: Xinhua/Xie Huanchi)

Five members of an alleged mafia-style business were executed on Monday by a court in central China’s Hubei Province.

Mining tycoon Liu Han, his brother Liu Wei, Tang Xianbing, Zhang Donghua, Tian Xianwei and 34 other defendants were convicted of organizing, leading, or participating in a gang, and murder in May last year.

The five defendants were sentenced to death by the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) and the Xianning Intermediate People’s Court.

Another five were sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve, four to life imprisonment and 22 to varying prison terms.

The higher people’s court in Hubei upheld the men’s death sentences in August.

Liu Han was board chairman of the Hanlong Group, the biggest private enterprise in southwest China’s Sichuan Province. He owned subsidiaries in the electricity, energy, finance, mining, real estate and securities sectors.

According to the verdict of the first trial, the group, led by the Liu brothers, was identified as a criminal organization as it had an established hierarchy, regular members and profited from criminal activities.

The organization, which was hidden by government officials, illegally monopolized the gaming business in Guanghan City in Sichuan Province, tyrannized local people and seriously harmed economic and social order.

“The case was extremely vile and harmful,” the court said in a statement on Monday.

The gang have been linked to eight deaths, gun sales, racketeering, vandalism, obstruction of official duties, disturbance of the peace, gambling and harboring of criminals, the SPC said.

Liu Han was also responsible for Hanlong Group’s loan racket and other “extremely harmful” monetary crimes, it said.

The court ruled that three other defendants, Tang Xianding, Zhang Conghua and Tian Xianwen, were involved with the mafia-style gang and were implicated in murder.

Meng Jianzhu, head of the the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee’s Commission for Political and Legal Affairs, vowed to root out criminal organizations.

“We will target criminal organizations when they are small and allow them no room to regroup and re-emerge,” Meng said at a meeting in September.

“Officials who offer protection to criminal organizations will be hunted down mercilessly,” he said.

Report complied with information from Xinhua