China executes mining tycoon Liu Han, who had links to ex-security tsar Zhou Yongkang

Businessman killed along with brother and three associates

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 February, 2015, 11:28am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 February, 2015, 3:19am

A Chinese mining tycoon linked to former security tsar Zhou Yongkang has been executed, according to state media.

Sichuan native Liu Han, 48, was found guilty of 13 charges – including murder, organising casinos, running a mafia-style gang and illegally selling firearms – and sentenced to death in late May.

He was executed on Monday morning together with his younger brother Liu Wei and three associates, Tang Xianbing, Zhang Donghua and Tian Xianwei, Xianning city intermediate court in Hubei province said. 

The court organised meetings between the criminals and their families prior to the executions, Xinhua reported.

He spoke calmly to his family as they visited him  before his execution.

He told them to accept his fate, and not to seek redress for any injustice, according to a source close to the family. His final words quoted the adage attributed to Abraham Lincoln: “You can fool some of the people all the time, and all the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”.

Liu Han’s Hanlong Group – a conglomerate founded in 1997 with interests ranging from energy to real estate – was fined 300 million yuan (HK$377 million) for crimes including the use of fraudulent information to obtain bank loans.

The group, of which Liu was board chairman, is Sichuan province's largest private enterprise. According to court verdicts after the first trial, the group led by the Liu brothers was identified as a criminal organisation as it had an established hierarchy and regular members, and profited from criminal activities, Xinhua said.

Hanlong Group and 20 defendants submitted appeals to the Hubei court early in June, reported.

Liu met Zhou's eldest son, Zhou Bin, in 2003 through a senior official from Aba autonomous prefecture in Sichuan, according to an earlier report by the South China Morning Post.

Sources said the elder Zhou had asked Liu to look after his son.

While close ties between the business community and party officials are common in China, Liu's case has exposed in surprising detail large networks of the rich and their uncertain role in political struggles.

After the pair's first meeting, Zhou Bin sold an Aba-based tourism company to Liu for some 12 million yuan – even though it was said to be worth less than six million yuan – because Liu wanted to "maintain a relationship with Zhou Bin", sources said.

Liu later gave the Aba official a gift worth a few hundred thousand yuan, they added. Years later, the official took up a senior position in Chengdu.

Zhou Bin has been detained since December over allegations of bribery.

His father, Zhou Yongkang, China's former security chief and Politburo member, was stripped of his Communist Party membership in December and will face prosecution, Xinhua reported earlier, citing the Politburo of the party’s Central Committee.

Zhou, 72, was accused of a series of serious violations of “party and organisational discipline and secrecy”, ranging from taking bribes to leaking party and state secrets and “exchanging power and money for sex”.

The report said he took bribes and abused his post for the benefit of others, including mistresses, relatives and friends. He was also accused of having caused heavy losses of state-owned assets.

Liu built Sichuan Hanlong into a prominent energy conglomerate worth an estimated 855 million yuan, according to Shanghai research company Hurun Report.

During a brief hearing in Xianning in May, Liu reportedly yelled "I've been framed" and "I've been wronged" to the court before guards took him away.

A large number of officials had offered to assist the investigation of Liu, state media reported.