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Daily Archives: July 7th, 2010

Residents hold banners outside the high court where Wen Qiang, the former municipal justice chief, was sentenced to death in Chongqing municipality July 7 Photo: REUTERS

Wen Qiang, 55, used his position as deputy police commissioner and then as director of the justice bureau to shield a network of gangsters.

But he met his downfall last year after a new governor, Bo Xilai, arrived in Chongqing and began the biggest anti-mafia operation in Chinese history.

Between last June and this February, almost 3,000 suspects were arrested in the Gotham-esque central Chinese city, whose population of over 30 million residents had been terrorised for decades by criminal gangs.

The entire police department was ripped apart by the investigations, with nearly 100 local officials and police being prosecuted for shielding the gangs.

Mr Wen was sentenced to death in April after a secret trial outside of Chongqing. The prosecution said he had taken more than 12 million yuan (£1.2 million) of personal bribes between 1996 and 2009 and that he had raped a university student in 2007. Mr Wen failed to account for the source of a further 10 million yuan of his assets.

During his interrogation, Mr Wen was reported to have told the police: “Do not dream of getting me to say anything. I know all the tricks from when I used to interrogate suspects”.

Later, he is said to have pleaded with the authorities: “I will keep my mouth shut if you do not give me the death sentence, but if you do decide to execute me, I will tell everything and lots more people are going to go to the gallows”.

After his execution, residents in Chongqing gathered outside the High Court, hanging banners in support of the government. “The corrupt official is dead, the wronged souls are consoled, the [Communist] Party is wise, the country is prosperous,” read one.

Mr Bo, the flamboyant governor and party secretary of Chongqing, has been catapulted to widespread fame, and perhaps envy, by the success of the anti-mafia operation. Some observers believe he may even have put himself in contention for a top position during the next reshuffle of China‘s leaders in 2012