RealNews

External Influence Complicates Court Ruling on Chinese Mafia Kingpin

On August 15, 2003, a revised verdict issued by the Liaoning Provincial Supreme People’s Court made waves across the nation. Mafia kingpin Liu Yong had previously been sentenced to death, but the new ruling added a two-year reprieve to the sentence, effectively saving his life. Soon afterwards, scores of reporters descended on Shenyang, the provincial capital, to find out why the court made the nominally small but essentially significant change, while the charges against the crime boss remained virtually the same. Court officials did not cite any concrete reasons. In a public bulletin, the court attributed the alteration to “specific circumstances relevant to this case”. According to published reports, Liu Yong was a local organized crime boss until 1995 when he started investing in legitimate businesses. However, even then he did not hesitate to resort to violence to solve problems. Court documents show that post-1995 activities by his mob led to 42 people being injured, 16 of them seriously, while one eventually died of his wounds. As these crimes normally warrant the death sentence under Chinese law, the public suspected that “external forces” were at work in the softening of the verdict. One rumour has it that Liu had such financial and political clout that even while he was in jail “powerful people” were protecting him. Full Story

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