2 gang leaders executed in SW China

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Two men were executed Tuesday in southwest China after being convicted of organizing gang crimes, a spokesman with the Chongqing municipal procuratorate said.

The death sentences for Chen Zhiyi and Yang Quan were handed down in December last year, when another 18 other members of the gang received sentences ranging from two-and-a-half years in jail to suspended death sentences.

Chen was convicted of 13 crimes, including organizing and leading a gang, robbery, fraud, blackmail and illegally buying and selling firearms. Yang was convicted of four crimes, including organizing a gang, intentional injury and running a gambling operation.

Chen was also fined 30.6 million yuan (4.62 million U.S. dollars) and Yang 15 million yuan.

The gang, which was formed in 2004, was responsible for killing three people and injuring four others, as well as many other crimes including illegal possession of firearms and gambling operations, said the spokesman.

Their trials were part of a massive government crackdown on criminal gangs, known as "black societies," in Chongqing, which resulted in the execution of the city's former top justice official in July.

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