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Drug Lord Sentenced to Death in South China
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Forty-two-year-old policeman-turned-drug baron Liu Zhaohua was sentenced to death by the Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court on Tuesday, the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

Liu was convicted of producing 12.7 tons of methamphetamine - commonly known as ice - and selling the drugs in collusion with others and made a profit of more than 31 million yuan (about US$4 million).

Liu's accomplice Guo Ruirong was sentenced to death with a reprieve, while four others, including Liu's wife Li Xiaoqing, who sheltered Liu from the police, received jail terms ranging from two and a half to five years.

Born to a poor family in the Saiqi township in east China's Fujian Province, Liu was given a police award for outstanding service in 1990.

But in 1996, he built a three-storey building in his hometown and started manufacturing drugs.

Police began hunting for Liu in 1999. In November 2004, police offered a reward of 200,000 yuan (US$25,000) for clues to Liu's whereabouts. He was caught on March 5, 2005, his 40th birthday.

Liu plans to appeal.

(Xinhua News Agency June 27, 2007)

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