Bo Xilai

Police will jail every gang boss in the country, top officer promises

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 31 October, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 31 October, 2009, 12:00am

Law enforcement agencies across the country would launch all-out raids on triads, dismantle their strongholds and put every gang boss into prison, the mainland's top policeman promised yesterday.

And yet his club came with a carrot. Once in prison, the lawbreakers would not only receive respect and humanitarian treatment, but also mental rehabilitation and career development programmes, Zhou Yongkang said.

He even urged local governments to make sure prisoners would be able to find jobs after they were released.

Zhou's words came as a high- profile anti-triad campaign in Chongqing wound down after hitting the headlines of mainland newspapers over the past few weeks.

Zhou made the remarks at the national gathering of the Communist Party's Social Security and Stability Committee. The committee is new but powerful, because the Politburo has authorised it to direct and co- ordinate the efforts of all law enforcement entities such as police, armed police and courts. Zhou, who ranks ninth in the Politburo, is head of the committee.

China Central Television quoted Zhou saying that the committee was targeting triads and their strongholds on the mainland, and local officials should strengthen their capability to maintain law and order.

Law enforcement agencies would conduct secret investigations across the country and pin the most troublesome districts in every city on a map, he said. They would obtain detailed information and real-time updates on triad bosses so none of them could escape once the raids started.

Whoever tried to protect them would be jailed as well, he said.

This week, Chongqing officials highlighted Zhou's support for that city's crackdown.

In Chongqing's campaign, more than 7,000 policemen have been mobilised and caught not only a large number of gang members and their bosses but also senior government officials, including a former deputy chief of the municipality's Public Security Department.

Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai said yesterday that the central government had planned and authorised the campaign.

Zhou's highlighting of the triad crackdown came as Bo quoted state leaders, including Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, to justify the mass arrests.

There has been speculation about whether the campaign, which has so far netted nearly 3,000 gangsters and officials, is part of political manoeuvring before the party's 18th congress in 2012, when a new generation of leaders is to be elected.

In a rare move, Zhou ordered local officials to promise inmates a 'settlement' upon their release. In Chinese, settlement for a healthy adult means a job.

Many mainland cities are already building prisoner settlement camps. A camp is usually a company that runs various businesses to provide working opportunities for former prisoners who could not find jobs. The businesses include low-end manufacturing and transport.