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Chongqing continues gang crackdown
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More than 600 gangsters have been arrested and 263 have faced prosecution in Chongqing during the first eight months of this year, the municipality's procuratorate said Monday.

Among those prosecuted are gangsters allegedly committing more than 50 crimes such as murder, abduction, rape, and the manufacture and distribution of drugs. Government officials accused of protecting gangs' interests also have been arrested.

The procuratorate did not give a breakdown of the government officials who have been accused, and would also not elaborate on charges against them. But officials said that since the beginning of the city's special operation to crush gangs in July, police have investigated 23 officials.

The director of the city's procuratorate media office, Chen Ping, refused China Daily's interview request yesterday, saying that investigators are still collecting evidence.

Media had reported gang bosses Yang Tianqing and Xie Caiping were separately prosecuted on Sept 18 and 21.

Guo Sheng, former deputy chief of Huangnibang public security office in the city's Yubei district, and Gan Yong, its police officer, were also prosecuted for protecting organized gangs under Xie's leadership, according to Jcrb.com, a gateway website administered by the Supreme People's Procuratorate.

"When the trials have finished, I hope Chongqing will soon recover from the damage left by organized gangs and never be haunted by them again," Wang Jia, owner of a local bookshop, told China Daily yesterday.

Xie allegedly had assembled 20 mobsters and ex-convicts to run gambling business in 2004, the website reported. He allegedly expanded it into an organized gang under his leadership by opening gambling houses and exercising illegal detentions.

Yang Tianqing applied similar recruitment methods, targeting mobsters and ex-convicts in downtown areas of the city from 2005. He tightened control on the gang by sponsoring members' livelihoods and arranging group drugs, binge drinking and prostitution.

Yang earned commissions from murder, loan-sharking, and violent debt collection, reaping wealth to grow the gang organization and support its activities.

Cases against ringleaders such as Li Qiang, a tycoon and former representative of the city's people's congress, Zhang Bo, and Li Yi will be filed before Oct 1, and more will follow after the National Day holiday.

In addition, procuratorate officials said they have combed through 60 cases of job-related crimes, turning them over to city departments for investigations.

The Outlook Weekly reported Monday that insiders from the procuratorate said many of the recent arrests had been convicted and jailed for felonies before. But they resumed crimes after their release from prison.

Some gang members, as well as their parents, received regular financial support in jail, to ensure the prisoners' return to the gangs after release.

Judicial bodies of the city ruled in July that any gang criminal should not be granted release on parole; any gang leader should not have his sentence cut short; and any attempt to shorten a gangster's jail sentence should call for public hearings.

(China Daily September 23, 2009)

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