Guangdong tries 2 'gang bosses' | Shanghai Daily

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Guangdong tries 2 'gang bosses'

SCORES of police guarded a courthouse in southern China on Tuesday - the first day of a trial for two alleged gangster bosses accused of using violence to build an empire that included everything from underground casinos to cement factories, truck lines and poultry markets.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the courthouse in the small southern coastal city of Yangjiang in Guangdong Province, hoping to get a glimpse of the alleged mob kingpins - who arrived under tight security in a police bus wearing black ski masks over their faces.

The defendants, Xu Jian°?qiang, known as the "Hammerhead," and his partner Lin Guoqin, or "Spicy Qin," were arrested in November 2007 in Yangjiang.

A notice taped to a courthouse wall said Xu and Lin were accused of leading a gangster, or "black society," organization that engaged in fraud, tax evasion, armed robbery, illegal detention, malicious injury and gambling, "among other crimes."

If found guilty, they could be sentenced to death. The court hasn't said if they've entered a plea for all the charges yet, and their lawyers haven't made public comments.

But the Southern Metropolis Daily reported yesterday that Xu pleaded innocent to charges of premeditated murder and gun dealing.

Xu, according to media accounts, was a Tony Soprano-type of gangster - a burly guy with a flat bulldog face who liked to brawl and muscle his way into deals. One photo shows him in a white undershirt with a crew cut and dark sunglasses.

Local reports suggest Lin was more like Michael Corleone from "The Godfather," a suave operator who sought to cover his criminal tracks with legitimate businesses. Pictures have shown him in a natty dark suit or smiling in a gray tweed blazer over a cranberry crew neck.

Before his arrest, Lin held high-ranking posts in several business groups and had a seat in the local legislature.

Xu and Lin met in a casino in 1990, the newspaper reported. The two began stockpiling guns for a gang, and the turning point in their careers came in 1992 when a major Yang°?jiang crime boss lost a large sum of money to Lin while gambling, the paper said. Xu beat the crime boss up and had to go into hiding.

Two years later Xu invited the boss to a meeting so they could discuss reconciliation. At the meeting, the report said, one of Xu's henchmen shot and killed the crime boss. The killing had a shock-and-awe effect on other gangs, catapulting Xu and Lin to the top of the crime community.

By the time of their arrest in 2007, they controlled 43 companies, dealing in poultry, trucking, sand, cement, among other things, the paper said.




 

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