'Gangsters accuse suspected kingpin'

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 October, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 October, 1999, 12:00am

Accomplices of an alleged Hong Kong crime kingpin have turned on their boss, accusing him of being the brains behind a series of cross-border crimes, a closed-door trial in Zhuhai has heard.

Details of last week's hearing, held in secret, have surfaced in mainland news reports.

The Guangzhou Daily reported that 14 gangsters blamed Hong Kong resident Ye Cheng-jian, 38, for the crimes in the hope of getting a lighter sentence.

The paper said yesterday a 'war of words' erupted at the hearing, with many gang members vying to implicate Ye as the gang's mastermind.

Ye reportedly denied their accusations: 'They are all members of the triad society. They are all intelligent people and know how to make money. They don't need my instruction,' he said.

The report said many of the defendants - who are facing the death penalty - appeared remorseful at the hearing and expressed the hope they would be given a chance by the court.

Ye also allegedly shouted: 'I should be given a chance to correct myself and start my life over. Thank you.' Ye and his gang were being prosecuted over a spate of alleged crimes in Macau and Guangdong, including murders, robberies and kidnappings between 1994 and 1999.

The closed-door hearing at Zhuhai Intermediate People's Court started on Thursday and ended on Saturday when judges progressed to the debating stage of the trial. Apart from Ye, two other Hong Kong men, Ng Kai-chi and Lee Lok-sang, were among the accused. The alleged gangsters were arrested in May.