Gang­sters jailed as search for relics con­tin­ues

China Daily - - CHINA - By ZHANG YAN zhangyan1@chi­

Sen­tenc­ing de­tails were re­leased re­cently in con­nec­tion with a Mafia-style tombraid­ing, gam­bling and loan­shark­ing gang that was bro­ken up in 2016.

Yuncheng In­ter­me­di­ate Peo­ple’s Court in Shanxi prov­ince handed life sen­tences in Fe­bru­ary to the gang’s lead­ers — four broth­ers named Hou Jin­liang, Hou Jinfa, Hou Jin­hai and Hou Jin­jiang. Five oth­ers were also sen­tenced to life in prison.

They were among 466 sus­pects de­tained in 2016 as part of a crack­down on a gang that had robbed tombs across Shanxi, in­clud­ing in the Yangyu pro­tected area in Yuncheng’s Wenxi county. It also ran il­le­gal gam­bling and mon­eylend­ing op­er­a­tions.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors have solved 325 con­nected cases and re­cov­ered 2,895 stolen cul­tural relics, in­clud­ing 24 with na­tional first-class sta­tus and 59 with sec­ond-class sta­tus, the Shanxi Pub­lic Se­cu­rity De­part­ment said in a state­ment on Sun­day.

Po­lice work is con­tin­u­ing in track­ing down a large num­ber of cul­tural relics stolen and traf­ficked over two decades by the gang.

“Or­ga­nized crime se­ri­ously threat­ens pub­lic se­cu­rity and so­cial sta­bil­ity. We will se­ri­ously com­bat such crimes to safe­guard peo­ple’s lives and prop­erty,” the de­part­ment said, adding the search for miss­ing ar­ti­facts con­tin­ues.

The case dates to June 2016 when the Wenxi po­lice dis­cov­ered that pre­cious bronze and jade ob­jects had been re­moved from tombs in the Yangyu pro­tected area.

Hun­dreds of sus­pects were rounded up, and po­lice iden­ti­fied the Hou broth­ers as the ring­leaders. They were charged with op­er­at­ing a Mafia-like gang for 20 years in­volved in grave rob­bing, il­le­gal casi­nos and loan-shark­ing, which bankrupted many and re­sulted in some peo­ple los­ing their lives, the state­ment said.

In ad­di­tion to the nine life sen­tences, Yuncheng In­ter­me­di­ate Peo­ple’s Court handed down prison terms rang­ing from three to 18 years for 166 other gang mem­bers.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors also found that 17 po­lice of­fi­cers, in­clud­ing two aux­il­iary of­fi­cers in Wenxi, had acted as pro­tec­tive um­brel­las for the gang and used their po­si­tions to fa­cil­i­tate its crimes.

Five were con­victed of cov­er­ing up the crimes, in­dulging in Mafia-like or­ga­nized crime, rob­bing graves and help­ing the sus­pects es­cape pun­ish­ment. They were sen­tenced to life in prison. Twelve other po­lice of­fi­cers re­ceived sen­tences rang­ing from two to 20 years.

Or­ga­nized crime se­ri­ously threat­ens pub­lic se­cu­rity and so­cial sta­bil­ity.”

Shanxi Pub­lic Se­cu­rity De­part­ment

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