Trial of Chongqing triad kingpin and 25 cohorts begins
A Chongqing triad boss and 25 of his supporters went on trial yesterday on charges ranging from murder and money-laundering to running illegal casinos and loan-sharking.
The crime syndicate headed by Chen Zhiyi, aged in his 40s, is one that had allegedly killed the most people. He is the first boss facing trial for involvement in money-laundering, reports carried by two news portals affiliated with the publicity department of Tianjin municipality and the Chongqing Daily said.
Apart from killing three people from 2004 to last year, the reports said the criminal group had laundered more than 60 million yuan (HK$68 million) and ran casinos that had handled 1 billion yuan.
Chongqing Municipal No2 Intermediate People's Court heard yesterday Chen had formed the triad group with more than 20 of his followers in 2004, the reports said.
Underscoring the importance of the sense of honour and justice, and saving the 'face' of the gang, Chen told cohorts they had to be single-minded and help one another whenever a scuffle or clash took place.
The reports said Chen was furious when he learned that Yang Quan , one of the ringleaders of his gang, had been beaten and insulted by Wen Yikui in 2004. Chen decided to seek revenge and sent aides Feng Hulin and Yu Hanming to chop Wen to death that September, they said.
Three years later, he had ordered Guo Jianbing , another follower, and others to kill Yang Yong after a scuffle with Guo's uncle over a minor matter, the reports said.
Early last year, Chen allegedly started to run several casinos at high-end hotels in Yubei district with Deng Yuping , a former official in the district taxation bureau and later Chen's right-hand man.
The duo had illicitly amassed fortunes of more than 30 million yuan in the gambling business, which boasted a turnover as high as 1 billion yuan, and 15 million yuan from loan-sharking involving about 500 million yuan, the reports said.
The court was told that the third killing had taken place early last year when Chen Daijian was stabbed to death by one of Chen's associates for failing to repay a debt.
As regular patrons of Chen's casinos, Liu Xinyong , former deputy head of the Yubei district government, and Zhang Zili , another official whose exact post was not specified, were reportedly the 'protective umbrella' of Chen's group.
This marked the beginning of a new round of trials for organised crime syndicates after triad kingpins such as Yang Tianqing , Liu Zhongyong , Xie Caiping , Li Yi and Zhang Bo had been sentenced in the past few months.
Xinhua reported yesterday that three other gangs totalling 79 people would soon be tried separately at the No1, No2 and No5 intermediate courts this month.
Nearly 3,000 suspects, including government and police officials, have been held since the beginning of the sweeping crackdown on the city's rampant underworld activities in late June.