Ty­coon’s dou­ble life

China Daily (Canada) - - COMMENT -

RE­FER­RING TO A FOR­MER BUSI­NESS PART­NER who he hinted had tried to take his life and who was later ex­e­cuted for an­other mur­der, the ty­coon Liu Han once said: “My con­clu­sion is, do no evil or you will be pun­ished in this life.” Here comes his mo­ment. Liu, along with 35 oth­ers, is be­ing pros­e­cuted for al­legedly or­ga­niz­ing and leading a crim­i­nal syn­di­cate, com­mit­ting dozens of se­ri­ous crimes in more than a decade, in­clud­ing the homi­cides of nine people, some in broad day­light.

The charges against Liu and his crim­i­nal em­pire, the big­gest that has been busted in re­cent years, are jaw­drop­ping. They in­clude mur­der, gun-run­ning, bribery, black­mail and fraud.

Should the charges be proven in court, Liu, the for­mer chair­man of Han­long Group, who once boasted to the Wall Street Jour­nal that he had never lost and never would, is about to lose badly.

That the in­ves­ti­ga­tion took more than 10 months and re­quired the col­lab­o­ra­tion of po­lice au­thor­i­ties in three prov­inces and the di­rect in­volve­ment of the Min­istry of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity, in­di­cates both the scope and com­plex­ity of the case.

It is a shock­ing in­di­ca­tion of how prob­lem­atic the lo­cal po­lit­i­cal bio­sphere is that Liu, a mem­ber of the Sichuan’s Stand­ing Com­mit­tee of the People’s Po­lit­i­cal Con­sul­ta­tive Con­fer­ence, is be­ing pros­e­cuted for be­ing an un­der­world mogul.

Liu was elected to the lo­cal po­lit­i­cal ad­vi­sory body for three con­sec­u­tive terms, given dozens of hon­orary ti­tles, and ac­quired “su­per en­ergy” for dic­tat­ing the ap­point­ment of lo­cal of­fi­cials.

That begs the ques­tion, how did Liu and his men man­age to es­cape the crim­i­nal probes un­scathed, emerg­ing stronger each time over the past decade?

Money had a role in Liu’s rise from be­ing a no­to­ri­ous lo­cal bully to a po­lit­i­cal dig­ni­tary. Three people from the lo­cal ju­di­ciary have been named as pro­vid­ing cover for Liu’s al­leged crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties. But those of­fi­cials are too ju­nior to have es­corted Liu into the provin­cial po­lit­i­cal club. It took be­hind-the-scenes deals in Chengdu, or even be­yond Sichuan, for Liu to be­come a mem­ber. Liu has re­port­edly even bribed his way to Bei­jing. But who ex­tended um­brel­las of pro­tec­tion for him? This is a big­ger ques­tion than that about the out­come of the on­go­ing court pro­ceed­ings.

Dis­man­tling Liu’s net­work is easy. But with­out fer­ret­ing out his pa­trons, there is no guar­an­tee oth­ers will not take his place some day.

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