2008-03-04 01:45:22 Xinhua English
CHANGCHUN, March 4 (Xinhua) -- Retrial of a 23-member mafia-style crime ring began at Jilin Provincial Higher People's Court on Monday.
The organized crime gang was led by Xu Wei, also known as Xu Dawei. Xu's father, Xu Fengshan, also being retried, used to be vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the People's Congress of Yushu, a county-level city within the jurisdiction of Changchun City, northeast Jilin Province.
Monday's hearing didn't produce any result as it would take days to go through all the verdicts against the massive organized crime gang, said a spokesman from the Jilin Provincial Higher People's Court.
Before he was promoted as vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the People's Congress of Yushu, Xu Fengshan, 58, used to serve in a host of other official posts including vice mayor of Yushu city between 1995 and 2005.
The court heard that during his tenure as vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the People's Congress of Yushu, the senior Xu took advantage of his post and secured the right for developing a patch of land for Liang Fawen, a real estate developer, in March2001.
In return for Xu Fengshan's favor, Liang gave Xu free of charge three apartments which could easily be renovated into business premises when the real estate development project was finished. The three flats were worth 680,000 yuan (about 93,151 U.S. dollars). Liang has been convicted of giving bribes.
Xu, together with his son Xu Wei and daughter-in-law, was accused of accepting properties worth of 470,000 yuan from another real estate developer surnamed Chen in 2003.
While serving as vice chairman of the Standing Committee of thePeople's Congress of Yushu, Xu was put in charge of the investment promotion work and construction of a hotel being built with Hong Kong investment.
When the Hong Kong investor pulled out, Xu took over the project himself, without informing the local government.
Using the construction of the hotel as an excuse, Xu repeatedly asked the local government to add more favorable policies to the project, and managed to cheat the local government in garnering land allotment free of charge. He succeeded and pocketed 23.8 million yuan from the hotel project alone.
Xu Wei, 41, who used to serve as deputy manager of a local heat power company, formed a mafia-style crime organization in Yushu as early as 1989.
To make the most of the influence exerted by Xu Wei's father, the organized crime gang set up a company specialized in building materials speculation and profited by doing so.
Protected by Xu Fengshan, Xu junior and his gang committed about 30 crimes or misdemeanor which left two dead and 13 others injured, and blackmailed people to the tune of 500,000 yuan.
Xu Wei was arrested by the police in June 2005 under charges of manslaughter, robbery, extortion, and illegal possession of weapons and ammunition. His father was put under police custody one month later for allegations including bribe taking.
The Intermediate People's Court of Changchun City handed down a ruling through a first-instant trial on Sept.28, 2007. In accordance with the ruling, Xu Fengshan, who was convicted of crimes ranging from graft, bribe-taking to harboring an organized crime ring, was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve.
Xu Wei, the son, was also convicted of crimes including manslaughter, operation of mafia-style crime organization, and was sentenced to death.
A further 21 members of the organized crime ring, including Xu Wei's wife, Feng Qiuyan, were given sentences ranging from an exemption of criminal penalty to life imprisonment. Feng, who had been in charge of financial affairs for the ring, was found guilty of obstructing verification and given a jail term of two years with a two-year reprieve.
Both Xus appealed their cases shortly after the ruling of the first-instant trial was announced.
The result of Monday's retrial will be announced later.