A triad boss and his top aide were executed in Chongqing yesterday, hours after the mainland's top court endorsed their death penalties, media in the southwestern municipality reported. Yang Tianqing was the first triad kingpin put to death since a crackdown on the city's rampant underworld activities was launched in June. Fourteen have been arrested. The executions took place within hours of the Supreme People's Court's decision to uphold the death sentences for Yang and his right-hand man, Liu Chenghu, yesterday morning, cqnews.net, a news portal affiliated with the city's publicity department, reported. Yang, 36, was convicted of a series of crimes, ranging from illegally injuring others and kidnapping to loan-sharking and illegal debt-collecting, after organising and leading an unnamed triad-like organisation since 2005, the report said. He was sentenced to death by the Chongqing No1 Intermediate People's Court on October 21, the same day the court sentenced Liu to death for participating in a triad-like organisation, murder and illegally injuring others. Both men lodged appeals against the first trial, but they were rejected by the high court in Chongqing on December 14. Quoting a statement issued by the Supreme People's Court, the report said it had approved the death sentences handed down by the Chongqing courts because their judgment was proper and the penalties appropriate given the clear evidence in both cases. In an apparent attempt to have his capital punishment overthrown, Yang denied in his appeal that he was a top figure in the crime syndicate he belonged to, the Guangzhou-based Southern Metropolis News reported. Instead, he named several triad bosses above him and said they were all under the protection of Wen Qiang, the former deputy head of Chongqing's police force, the report added. 'I'm by no means a triad boss. Instead, I'm merely a member of a triad-style underworld society,' Yang said. 'They threatened to kill all members of my family if I refused to do what they ordered me to do.' Chen Ming and Wang Xingping - two top crime syndicate figures detained in Chongqing before the crackdown was launched in June - were executed late last year. The high-profile triad crackdown waged by Bo Xilai, Chongqing's municipal party secretary, has won applause across the mainland, especially from internet users, despite widespread criticism of a lack of transparency in the process. One of the most hotly debated issues has been the detention of Beijing-based lawyer Li Zhuang, who was jailed for 21/2 years after being accused by his client, another triad boss, of attempting to falsify testimony.