Former NPC deputy sentenced to death for raping under-age girls
A Henan multimillionaire and former National People's Congress deputy was sentenced to death for raping more than 20 under-age girls, state media said yesterday.
Wu Tianxi, 61, the richest man in Zhenping county and a former vice-chairman of its Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, was also deprived of political rights for life and fined 500,000 yuan by the Nanyang Intermediate People's Court, Xinhua reported.
Wu can appeal against the sentence to the Henan Higher People's Court but it is unclear if he will do so.
The Xinhua report said several of Wu's accomplices, including a young woman named Liu Pei who helped him kidnap the young girls, were sentenced to jail terms ranging from six months to 20 years.
In addition to the rapes, Wu was accused of organising criminal gangs, fraud, illegal fund-raising and unlawful land sales, the report said.
Henan police arrested Wu on April 17 after parents of victims complained repeatedly to the provincial authorities.
Earlier reports said police had collected details of 36 victims aged between 12 and 16, many of whom attended schools in neighbouring Chengguan township.
Wu founded the Zhenping Jiasong Foods Series Group in 1991 and had more than 100 million yuan in assets by the late 1990s. He was elected an NPC member in 1998.
But his physical strength and career declined in recent years and he came to believe in an ancient superstition that having sexual intercourse with virgins could bolster his sexual powers and fortune.
Earlier reports said Wu gave 2,000 to 3,000 yuan to a teenage girl, who was among his earliest victims, to make her an accomplice and help him kidnap other young virgins.
Villagers said his crimes were exposed when parents and teachers in Chengguan reported him.