Liu Han (pictured) – a Chinese businessman linked in mainland media reports to allegations of money laundering via Macau casinos – was among five people put to death on Monday on the orders of a court in Hubei province in central China, reports Xinhua, an official Chinese news agency.
China’s Supreme People’s Court had in August upheld death sentences imposed in May 2014 by the Xianning Intermediate People’s Court on Liu Han, his brother Liu Wei, and three others: Tang Xianbing, Zhang Donghua and Tian Xianwei.
The five were described by Xinhua as “members of a mafia-style gang”.
The Liu brothers and 34 other defendants were in May convicted of organising, leading or participating in a gang, and of complicity in murder.
Five of the defendants were “sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve”, four were given life imprisonment and 22 were handed varying prison terms, stated the news agency.
“The case was extremely vile and harmful,” the Hubei court said in a statement on Monday, according to Xinhua.
Liu Han was until his arrest in March 2013 chairman of Sichuan Hanlong (Group) Co Ltd, described by Xinhua as the biggest private enterprise in China’s southwestern province of Sichuan. He owned subsidiaries in the electricity, energy, finance, mining, real estate and securities sectors according to the news agency.
The higher court said his criminal activities had been linked to eight deaths, gun sales, racketeering, vandalism, obstruction of public officials in their duty, disturbance of the peace, gambling and harbouring criminals, stated Xinhua.
In February 2012 Xinhua reported – quoting Xianning People’s Procuratorate in Hubei province – that Mr Liu and “criminal associates” had made more than HKD230 million (US$29.6 million) taking mainland citizens to gamble in Macau.
Liu Han is reported in the mainland media to have had links to China’s former security chief Zhou Yongkang. Mr Zhou, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee until November 2012, is one of the highest-ranking members of the Chinese Communist Party to be detained by mainland authorities in recent decades.
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"If the [Macau casino] concessions are put up for bid, there will also be a lot of giant Chinese companies, some having nothing to do with gaming, which would like to take over these enormously successful casinos”
Professor emeritus at Whittier Law School in California, in the United States, and a visiting professor at University of Macau