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Criminals Executed in Anti-crime Drive

As part of the “Strike Hard” campaign, courts across the country have executed dozens of criminals since Friday, Xinhua news agency reported. The criminals were all engaged in serial robberies and murders.

Police, prosecutors and courts are jointly participating in the nationwide anti-crime drive, which began in mid-April, to deter the rising trend of criminal offenses.

“A large number of criminal offenders are being tried by courts, and their verdicts will gradually come out,” said Jiang Xingchang, vice president of the Supreme People’s Court.

Sichuan, Henan and Guangdong provinces executed 12 criminals on Friday. Four men executed in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, were engaged in armed robbery of passengers and vehicles along highways, and local shops. They caused between seven and 11 deaths.

Another four men executed in Luoyang, Henan Province, were convicted of using sleeping pills as weapons against their prey. Each man murdered up to five people and stole property valued between 120,000 yuan and 340,000 yuan.

They even murdered three accomplices for the sake of keeping their crimes secret, the court said.

The four men put to death by a court in Huizhou, Guangdong Province, were farmers from Hunan Province. They were “experts” in robbing taxi drivers and other drivers. The four men killed nine drivers in one year, the court said.

Intermediate courts at the three locations sentenced the 12 to death at first instance trials, and all three cases were appealed. Provincial courts upheld the verdicts of the three cases and approved the death sentences with authorization from the Supreme People’s Court.

In Beijing, sixteen criminals, including murderers, robbers and rapists, were executed on Friday following a ruling by the No. 1 and No. 2 intermediate courts.

Courts in the Municipality of Chongqing and Hunan Province also sentenced 14 criminals to death on Saturday.

The 14 were charged with crimes ranging from robbery and murder to illegally buying and selling guns and ammunitions, and stealing guns and ammunitions.

Four other gang members received harsh punishments, but escaped the death penalty.

The 18 all confessed their crimes, the courts said. Court investigations show that between June of 1991 and September of 2000, the gang killed 28 people and injured 22 others, staged armed robberies, stole guns and ammunitions in Chongqing City, Hunan, Hubei, Yunnan provinces and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

The “Strike Hard” campaign focuses on the most serious crimes such as violent crimes using explosions, murders, robbery, kidnapping, poisoning; gang crimes and crimes with Mafia features; and thefts and other crimes that affect public security.

According to official statistics, crimes registered by police for investigation in the year of 2000 rose by 50 percent over 1999. However, the exact numbers were not revealed.

Gang crimes with Mafia features handled by courts across the country increased seven fold, with many involving high-ranking Party and government officials.

And the number of explosions has increased by 2.6 times over the past two decades. All signs indicate that China is at its fourth crime peak since 1983 when the country’s first “Strike Hard” campaign was launched. The last similar campaign was in 1996.

Chinese courts are expected to announce more penalties against criminals in the future as the “Strike Hard” campaign progresses.

(eastday.com 04/23/2001)

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