The Qinghai Legal News (青海法制报) from Qinghai province today published the newspaper’s editorial selection of China’s ten biggest criminal cases of 2012. In a somber tone, the newspaper prefaces its selection with the following summary:
This year, all the many public charges that ensued from criminal investigations gave many people a profound impression, leaving in their minds a lingering mark of the criminal cases involved. In the ten criminal cases listed below, there are some people who will never be able to be reunited with their families; there are some people who got rich quick only to have their fake dream world shattered; there was fraud; and there was the question of the safety of the school bus that is still haunting people’s consciences….. The people involved in these ten criminal cases in 2012 left behind footsteps that echoed loudly and terrifyingly.
The ten biggest criminal cases of 2012 are the following (detailed descriptions follow below):
- “Sticky Rice” Kang (aka Waxy Kang) and the massacre of the Chinese sailors (糯康案)
- The homicide of Bo Gu Kailai and Zhang Xiaojun ((薄谷开来、张晓军故意杀人案)
- Wu Ying’s fund-raising fraud (吴英集资诈骗案)
- The Gansu school bus accident (甘肃正宁校车事故)
- The 488 million yuan Sichuan pyramid scheme (四川4.88亿特大传销案)
- Luoyang sex slaves (洛阳性奴案)
- Liao Dan and the fake treatment form (廖丹“刻章救妻”)
- “Almighty God” cult “全能神”邪教
- Zhou Kehua (周克华案)
- Mayor of Haitang Bay in Sanya causes loss of 700 million yuan (三亚海棠湾原镇长李骥致国家损失7亿)
1. “Sticky Rice” Kang and the massacre of the Chinese sailors (糯康案)
On 6 November, attention was focused on the Intermediate People’s Court in Kunming, Yunnan province, where a sentence was about to be read out. The man in the dock was Myanmar national and self-styled criminal overlord of the Mekong river basin, Nuo Kang (糯康), or as some people have called him, “Sticky Rice” Kang (the character Nuo [糯] means sticky rice). Kang and his accomplices had earlier in the year massacred Chinese sailors on the Mekong river, an act so heinous that a joint investigation was launched by police forces from China, Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. There was an outcry in China for the Chinese government to step up protection of Chinese nationals both in and outside the borders of China, and this criminal case was as a result pursued with great vigor by the Chinese police.
Sticky Rice got the death penalty.
2. The homicide of Bo Gu Kailai and Zhang Xiaojun (薄谷开来、张晓军故意杀人案)
The spectacle of the Bo Gu Kailai (薄谷开来) murder trial occurred in the Hefei (合肥) Intermediate People’s Court in Anhui province in August. Bo Gu Kailai and her accomplice Zhang Xiaojun (张晓军) were found guilty of deliberately planning and executing the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood, and Bo Gu herself was stripped of her political rights and given a death sentence with a two-year deferment. Zhang was sentenced to nine years in jail. Bo Gu and Zhang both declined to appeal.
3. Wu Ying’s fund-raising fraud (吴英集资诈骗案)
Wu Ying (吴英) was the legal representative of the firm Zhejiang Inherent Quality Holdings Limited (原浙江本色控股集团有限公司) when, in March 2007, she became a suspect in a criminal case of embezzling public funds. In 2009 a court in Zhejiang found that in the period May 2005 to February 2007, Wu Ying used fabricated information and high interest loans to embezzle around 770 million yuan. She was sentenced to death and deprived of her political rights, but she appealed.
In January 2012 the court rejected her appeal and affirmed the original sentence. In April, however, the Supreme People’s Court of China had not yet authorized the death penalty, and sent the case back to the lower court in Zhejiang, which finally in May deferred the death sentence by two years. A significant factor in Wu Ying’s case was an online campaign for her to be spared the death penalty.
4. The Gansu school bus accident (甘肃正宁校车事故)
On 16 November 2011, a minibus from the Little Doctor Kindergarten in Shaanxi province (榆林子镇小博士幼儿园) was travelling in Gansu province when it collided head-on with a goods van. The minibus had a capacity of nine people, yet it was crammed with no fewer than 64 children, nineteen of whom died in the accident. 21 people died in total, and 43 others were injured.
On 20 July 2012, Li Jun Gang (李军刚) was standing in the dock at the court room in Zhengning county in Gansu province (甘肃正宁). Li was chairman of the board at the kindergarten in Shaanxi province and was held responsible for the great loss of life. He was sentenced to seven years in jail. He appealed the sentence, but subsequently withdrew his appeal.
5. The 488 million yuan Sichuan pyramid scheme (四川4.88亿特大传销案)
In 2009 Chen Li Jun (陈利军) set up the company Sichuan Xingfuyuan Agricultural Development Limited (四川省幸福缘农业开发有限公司) to manufacture nutritional products and to sell certain services. A few months later the company had accumulated 150 million members across China who had invested 488 million yuan in the company. Yet it was one massive pyramid scheme.
In June 2012 a court in Sichuan (四川) heard the “multi-level marketing campaign” fraud case. Chen was sentenced to ten years in jail and a fine of five million yuan, while his accomplice Peng Chunqi (彭春棋) was sentenced to five years in jail and a fine of one million yuan.
You can still see the company’s page on Baidu Baike as if nothing was amiss.
6. Luoyang sex slaves (洛阳性奴案)
On 30 November 2012, the Luoyang (洛阳) Intermediate People’s Court in Henan province delivered its verdict on Li Hao (李浩), who stood accused of murder, rape, organizing prostitution, detaining people against their will and manufacturing and distributing obscene materials. He got the death penalty.
Before passing sentence, the court heard that in August 2009, Li had excavated a burrow underneath the cellar of his house. He then tricked six women into his house, imprisoned them in the burrow, and held them as sex slaves. In 2010, Li murdered one of the women. In March or April 2011, Li uploaded a video on the Internet in which he forced the imprisoned women to perform obscene acts. In June or July of the same year he forced three of the women to kill one of the other imprisoned women.
7. Liao Dan and the fake treatment form (廖丹“刻章救妻”)
Five years ago, Liao Dan’s (廖丹) wife, Du Jinling (杜金领), became ill with uremia and was laid off from her job. Liao Dan had already not been working for ten years, and after six months of expensive dialysis treatment for his wife, Liao Dan decided to take matters into his own hands. He found someone to fake a treatment form for his wife at Beijing Hospital so that his wife would be able to obtain dialysis treatment free of charge. Liao Dan got away with it for a full four years in which he cheated the hospital out of 1.7 million yuan in hospital fees.
For his crime, Liao Dan got a lot of sympathy from people online. In December a court in Beijing sentenced him to three years in jail for fraud and an additional fine of 3,000 yuan.
8. “Almighty God” cult (“全能神”邪教)
On 30 October a court in Inner Mongolia charged eight people with being members of a cult organization called “Almighty God”. On 14 December, the court delivered sentences on the accused ranging from four years to five years, respectively.
9. Zhou Kehua (周克华案)
Zhou Kehua (周克华) was originally from Chongqing (重庆). Ever since 2004 he was on the run and cropped up from time to time in several provinces in China, carrying a gun and using it to commit robberies, murdering six people in the process. In recent years Zhou started gaining wide notoriety in the press for his vile deeds, but he was cornered by the police in Chongqing in August this year and shot dead.
10. Mayor of Haitang Bay in Sanya causes loss of 700 million yuan (三亚海棠湾原镇长李骥致国家损失7亿)
Haitang Bay in Sanya, Hainan province (三亚海棠湾) is a scenic holiday spot that has also recently experienced a construction boom. Yet in June 2011, a series of reconstruction compensation irregularities came to light in the area. Only in December 2012 did the Hainan provincial Party disciplinary authorities announce that the mayor of Haitang Bay, Li Ji (李骥) had accepted massive bribes and was responsible for the loss of 700 million yuan.
A court in Sanya subsequently sentenced Li to death, but deferred the sentence for two years.
Links and sources
Qinghai Legal News (青海法制报): 2012十大典型刑事案例