Liu death sentences upheld
Former tycoon amassed great wealth through mafia-like acts
A court in Hubei province upheld on Thursday the death sentences passed on former mining tycoon Liu Han and his brother Liu Wei.
The High People’s Court rejected appeals by the brothers, who were convicted of running a mafia-style gang, and referred the sentences to the Supreme People’s Court for final review.
Liu Han is the former chairman of Hanlong Group, the largest private enterprise in Sichuan province.
“The mafialike gang headed by Liu Han and Liu Wei used violent, threatening or other cruel means to kill, injure or illegally detain others, and bribed government officials to monopolize resources and cover their crimes,” said a statement by the High People’s Court. “They should be sentenced to death.”
In May, the Xianning Intermediate People’s Court convicted Liu Han, Liu Wei and 34 other defendants of murder and organizing, leading or participating in the mafia-style gang.
The brothers and three others were sentenced to death.
The court heard that 49-yearold Liu Han owned more than 70 subsidiary companies involved in electricity, energy, finance, mining, real estate and securities at home and abroad. His total assets were valued at 40 billion yuan ($6.4 billion).
The court found that Liu Han started to generate illegal income by running gambling houses in Guanghan, Sichuan province, 20 years ago.
He established the Hanlong Group in 1997, and from then on he and Liu Wei recruited gang members and built up a criminal organization.
According to the court, the brothers assumed different roles, with Liu Han responsible for leading the organization and for decision-making, while Liu Wei hired “hatchet men” or “bodyguards”.
Eight people were killed by members of the organization, and the court said Liu Wei was mainly responsible for the deaths. The group made “tremendous” financial gains through monopolizing local resources and engaging in organized crime.
It planned and conducted murders and serious assaults, detained its enemies, participated in extortion and illegal trades, possessed weapons and subjected people to tyranny, according to the court.
The 36 defendants were convicted in seven trials. The gang was the largest of its kind to go on trial in recent years, according to Xinhua News Agency.
Li Wei, of the Beijing Lawyers Association, said after the High People’s Court released its decision: “The court held public hearings on their appeals and listened carefully to the lawyers’ defense opinions to fully protect their legal rights.
“Considering they operated a cruel, mafia-like gang, the death sentence was appropriate.”
Convicted former mining tycoon Liu Han (handcuffed at left), who led a Mafia-like gang and committed various violent crimes, listens as a judge reads out his sentence along with those of others in the case on Thursday in Xianning, Hubei province. The provincial High People’s Court rejected the appeals by Liu Han and his brother Liu Wei, and the death sentences will be passed to the Supreme People’s Court for final review.