One of China’s richest gang bosses is executed

Mafia-like organisation allegedly owned assets of €5.7bn and controlled 70 companies

Liu Han, a mining tycoon, who along with four others was executed for leading an organised crime gang. Photograph: EPA

Liu Han, a mining tycoon, who along with four others was executed for leading an organised crime gang. Photograph: EPA

 

China has executed Liu Han, a gang boss reportedly linked to disgraced former elite politician Zhou Yongkang, as the country’s ongoing corruption clampdown continues to net significant scalps.

In all, five members of the “mafia-style” gang were executed in China’s Hubei Province, after their execution was approved by the supreme people’s court and the Xianning intermediate people’s court. It was the biggest mob trial in China in recent years.

Han’s gang allegedly owned assets of 40 billion yuan (€5.68 billion) and controlled 70 companies. The gang was connected to eight deaths, gun sales, racketeering, vandalism, obstruction of official duties, disturbance of the peace, gambling and harbouring of criminals, the supreme court said.

Also executed were Liu’s younger brother Liu Wei, Tang Xianbing, Zhang Donghua and Tian Xianwei.

Liu and his brother were convicted of murder, assault and illegal detention, on a charge sheet totalling 15 offences. There were charges against 34 other people related to organising, leading or participating in a gang, and murder.

Authorities in Hubei said the 48-year-old mining tycoon ran a vast mafia-like organisation, under a “protection umbrella”, which allowed the gang to carry out murders in broad daylight and paid off gangs of police officials in a complex web of corruption.

Harboured and indulged

“The case was extremely vile and harmful,” the court said in a statement.

The link is believed to be to Zhou Yongkang’s son, Zhou Bin, who is also under investigation as part of a graft inquiry.

Sichuan was Mr Zhou’s early power base. As a billionaire and one-time head of the Sichuan-based energy conglomerate Hanlong Group, Liu had high-level ties with officials across the southwestern province.

Weapons cache

When Liu went missing last year, there were rumours he was caught up in an inquiry relating to money-laundering in Macau’s gaming industry. In 2012, Liu was 148th last year on Forbes magazine’s list of the richest Chinese businesspeople, with a fortune estimated at €662 million.