Court upholds death verdicts over gangsters

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A Chinese court Monday upheld death sentences against eight people convicted in a sweeping crackdown on organized crime in China's southwestern municipality of Chongqing.

The Higher People's Court of Chongqing municipality affirmed the first-instance death sentences handed down on February 10 to Fan Qihang, leader of a 34-member gang, and principal gang member Wu Chuanjiang for the murder of a man in Chongqing in June last year and other violent gang crimes.

The court also upheld the death sentences with two-year reprieves against six other gang members for various organized crime offences and a life sentence against Gong Gangmo for gang-related crimes, the court said in a statement.

Gong was found guilty of murder, gun running, drug trafficking, casino operation and other crimes during the first-instance court hearing.

Gong had retracted claims that he was tortured during police interrogations, admitting that he fabricated the allegations with the help of his lawyer, Li Zhuang. Li was later sentenced to 18 months in jail for leading the conspiracy.

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