20 gangs targeted in crackdown
Mainland police have broken up 20 gangs and rounded up almost 1,400 suspects since September as part of a big, multi-province crackdown on organised crime, the Ministry of Public Security said yesterday.
The 'fight crime, eliminate evil' campaign targeted 121 criminal cells in 689 cases, involved in activities such as protection rackets, kidnapping, extortion and drugs.
The crime-fighting drive is across 11 provinces and municipalities: Beijing, Shanxi, Liaoning, Jilin , Zhejiang, Fujian, Shandong, Henan, Sichuan, Guizhou and Yunnan.
'Crimes by criminal forces are a major problem in maintaining law and order, and also a complex social problem,' the ministry said.
It said authorities had adopted a policy of 'strike early and strike small, strike whenever they show their heads, to eliminate evil activities'.
To illustrate the size and the complexity of the criminal groups involved, the ministry's rhetoric-laden statement gave an example of one gang, based in Benxi, Liaoning, and allegedly headed by Yuan Chengjia .
By the time police moved in on the gang, it had established an effective hegemony in the region, controlling more than 20 businesses and with assets totalling more than 2 billion yuan (HK$2.45 billion).
'Over five years, the Public Security Bureau, through enormous and arduous efforts, finally managed to destroy this criminal organisation,' the ministry said, without providing further details of arrests.
Another gang mentioned in the release was in Chenzhou, Hunan, allegedly under the leadership of a man named Chen Xiaoqing. The gang had been involved in drugs, kidnapping and violent crimes, and was responsible for at least seven deaths as well as seriously injuring 10 other people.
The current drive is the latest in a series of regional or nationwide crackdowns on criminal activities, sporadically launched by Beijing.