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Cutting off the dragons' heads

Three people convicted of leading organized-crime gangs were sentenced to death Wednesday at two courts in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality in a crackdown on criminal syndicates and their "protective umbrellas."

They were among 31 members of two criminal gangs tried this week – the first of hundreds of people in Chongqing, including several top officials, accused of involvement in underworld organizations – from a large-scale crackdown that started in June.

Three other members of the two rings were given death penalties with a two-year reprieve, and 25 other defendants received jail terms ranging from one year to life, according to a statement released Wednesday by the two local intermediate courts.

Prosecutors accused the gang members of crimes including murder, illegal possession of firearms, running illegal coalmines, false imprisonment, robbery, extortion and forging resident identity cards.

Presiding Judge Jiang Lin told reporters Wednesday that none of the nine members of one organization had asked to file an appeal after the rulings were announced.

Tang Yongqiang, the defense lawyer for Yang Tianqing, the leader of the nine-member ring and one of defendants who received the death penalty, said he would talk to Yang about whether he wants to appeal to a higher court, the Legal Mirror reported.

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 Source : Global Times  Editor: Ivy
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