Tycoon’s Arrest Exposes China’s Shady Business Underworld
State media reports Wednesday about the arrest of a Chinese mining magnate shed further light on the murky and perilous business environment in China, and the way that Communist Party officials frequently mingle with gangsters.
Sichuan tycoon Liu Han, chairman of Hanlong Mining, was arrested last Friday for harboring his fugitive brother, a suspect in a murder case.
Liu and his Hanlong Group control the world’s largest molybdenum mine, and is a key player in China’s photovoltaic industry. He was ranked No. 148 on the 2012 Forbes China Rich List with an estimated wealth of US$855 million.
On March 20, the Chinese regime’s mouthpiece Xinhua and People’s Daily published an online report on Liu’s arrest titled, “Mining Leader Liu Han, Who Once Led to a Millionaire’s Death Sentencing, Has Been Detained.”
But both reports were soon deleted, and online search terms for Liu Han were also censored.
Millionaire Death Sentencing
Liu first made headlines years ago when his car was shot up by a hitman hired by a rich investor, who had suffered losses in one of Liu’s investment deals.
The hitman failed and an accomplice proceeded to blackmail the investor, Yuan Baojing – Yuan then killed that accomplice, with help from his brothers and cousin. Yuan Baojing was sentenced to death and executed on charges of “contract murder.” He was denied an appeal. Yuan’s brother and cousin, Yuan Baoqi and Yuan Baosen, were also executed. His other brother, Yuan Baofu, was given a two-year suspended death sentence.
Recounting the story to The Wall Street Journal in 2010, Liu said, “They call me, ‘Liu Han, the only survivor.’”
Yuan allegedly bribed many senior officials in Liaoning Province to avoid his death sentence, but his wife Zhuo Ma told media before his execution in May 2007 that “someone powerful in Liaoning” wanted her husband killed.
According to Yuan’s wife, he had revealed that certain Liaoning officials were involved in economic crimes, such as drug trafficking and counterfeit currency trading.
Chinese media reported at the time that the officials involved were Li Feng, the Political and Judiciary Committee secretary of Liaoning, and Li Keqiang, China’s new premier and then-Party Chief of Liaoning.
Li Feng, who is said to have been the main official pushing for Yuan’s execution, worked for Li Keqiang, and disgraced princeling Bo Xilai.
Both Li Feng and Bo Xilai have been named by the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong as having committed crimes against humanity.
Translation and research by Jenny Li. Written in English by Gisela Sommer.
Read the original Chinese article.