BEIJING (AP) — China executed seven gang leaders Thursday for murder, gun sales, gambling and other crimes in what state media called their province’s worst gang case since the founding of communist China 60 years ago.
The Xinhua News Agency said the seven gang leaders were executed in Shijiazhuang, the capital of the northern province of Hebei, on the orders of the country’s Supreme People’s Court. Calls to the general office of the Shijiazhuang Intermediate Court were not answered Thursday.
The executions — an unusually large cluster — are the latest development in a sweeping crackdown on organized crime in China.
Two gang bosses in the southern province of Guangdong were sentenced to death last month, and a former gang leader who was the son of a high-ranking politician was executed in November in the northern province of Jilin.
Also in November, a mob boss in the central mega-city of Chongqing was executed as part of a massive crackdown that netted up to 2,900 suspects, including 14 high-ranking government and police officials.
An internal report by China’s Ministry of Public Security estimated that China had 2 million to 3 million people involved in organized crime in 2004 and 4,200 “mafia-style syndicates,” Ming Xia, a professor at The City University of New York who studies China’s criminal underworld, told The Associated Press last fall.
Thursday’s report said the seven Hebei gang leaders murdered people, sold guns and ran gambling activities under the cover of their luggage-handling business in several cities throughout the province.