Officials Joining Mafia to Face Punishment

Government officials will be severely dealt with if convicted of having a role in Mafia-style organizations, according to a new legal interpretation of the China's Supreme People's Court.

The court's new ruling comes as a growing number of local Party and government officials, especially in China's southern booming coastal provinces, are found out organizing, leading or joining Mafia-style gangs, the official-run Xinhua News Agency reported.

Criminal liabilities could be sought on officials who "harbour" and "connive" underground mafia organizations, as the court added one more clause into interpretations of China's cardinal Criminal Codes.

"Harboring" in the codes refers to divulging secrets; hiding, destroying or fabricating evidence; preventing others from testifying; causing others' perjury; and helping convicts flee or obstructing law enforcement.

"Connivance" refers to intentional conspiracy with the suspects and instigating and supporting them carrying out criminal acts.

As the interpretation rules, the organizer or leader of a Mafia-style organization shall be penalized in terms of all the crimes committed by the organization. The members shall be punished according to the crime they are involved.

The new interpretation, which has been approved by the Judicial Committee of the Supreme People's Court, takes effect as of December 10, the report said.

( 12/11/2000)

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