Chinese sentence 14 to death for corruption

Click to follow
The Independent Online

China sentenced 14 people to death yesterday in the first verdicts of a multi-billion- pound smuggling scandal that is thought to be the biggestcorruption case of the Communist era.

China sentenced 14 people to death yesterday in the first verdicts of a multi-billion- pound smuggling scandal that is thought to be the biggestcorruption case of the Communist era.

According to the official Xinhua news agency, those sentenced included Xiamen's former customs chief, Yang Qianxian; its former vice-mayor, Lan Pu; the former Fujian deputy police chief, Zhuang Rushun; and Ye Jichen, head of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in Xiamen.

But Lai Changxing, a businessman who masterminded the smuggling scam, fled overseas after a police tip-off.

State media had expected a large "haul" of executions from the secretive trials, underscoring President Jiang Zemin's vow to stamp out rampant official corruption. Dozens of officials, among at least 200 people implicated in the scandal, began going on trial in September at courts in five Fujian cities.

Lai's Yuanhua Group smuggled more than £4bn of cars, luxury goods and raw materials in the early 1990s, paying off officials to facilitate evasion, the news agency said.

The courts passed sentence on an initial batch of 84 people, handing death sentences to 14 but granting three of those a two-year reprieve. Reprieved death sentences are usually commuted to life sentences in prison in China.

Comments