BEIJING, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- More than 14,000 suspects were involved in gang crimes in China over the past three years, the China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Wednesday.
The police investigated more than 1,200 gang crime cases, dealt with more than 100,000 criminal cases, and confiscated almost 2,600 guns, the CCTV reported.
The country launched a nationwide campaign to crack down on gang crimes since February 2006.
It said that chief procurators at various levels paid more attention to cases of dereliction of duty, in which officials became "protective umbrellas" of gangsters.
The report said that prosecutors had investigated more than 160 suspects in more than 130 work-related criminal cases.
Supreme People's Court (SPC) Vice President Zhang Jun told a teleconference on Aug. 9 that the current public security order was "not optimistic" during the global economic downturn.
Gao Jinghong, director of the SPC office on gang crime crackdown, said more than 3,000 suspects in 700 cases had been sentenced to terms including imprisonment of more than five years, life imprisonment or even death penalty.
More than 46 percent of these suspects have received "severe punishment," Gao said.
Zhang, who was in charge of the country's campaign in cracking down on gang crimes, said courts should apply the criminal policy of "tempering justice with mercy" in handling gang crimes.
The court should consider lenient sentence "if suspects turn themselves to justice, admit crimes or have played less important roles in gangs and contributed to the handling of related cases," Zhang said.
Judicial authorities should report clues of "protective umbrellas," he said.
Earlier this month, Wen Qiang, head of the judicial administrative bureau in southwestern Chongqing Municipality, was being investigated over alleged connections with gangsters.
Wen, who had been vice Party chief of Chongqing's Public Security Bureau and became head of the Judicial Administrative Bureau in July, 2008, was suspected of providing a "protective umbrella" for local gangs, authorities said.
Chongqing launched a campaign two months ago targeting gangsters in the city. A survey by the municipal government shows 98 percent of netizens polled supported the campaign.
Zhou Bo, spokesman with the municipal government of Chongqing, said, "Over 50 days, we have eradicated 14 gangs and caught 19 organizers and more than 100 gangsters."