China’s smuggling kingpin gets jail for life

May 18th, 2012 - 7:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, May 18 (IANS) A notorious kingpin of a smuggling ring has been sentenced to life imprisonment in China over smuggling and bribery charges.

The court said the sentencing of Lai Changxing, 53, was handed down given the graveness of his offences and “an extremely large amount of money” involved, China Daily reported Friday.

Lai, as the mastermind, should be held responsible for all the crimes his syndicate committed, the court added.

The court found Lai formed a smuggling ring by establishing firms and bases in Hong Kong and Xiamen city since 1991.

From December 1995 to May 1999, Lai’s syndicate smuggled cigarettes, cars, refined oil, vegetable oil, chemical materials, textile materials and other commodities worth 27 billion yuan (over $4 billion) and evaded duties of about 14 billion yuan, the court said.

To facilitate transactions, Lai and his ring members bribed 64 government officials with about 39 million yuan between 1991 and 1999, it said.

Lai fled to Canada in mid-1999 to avoid punishment. But he was repatriated to China July 23, 2011. He was then arrested and investigated for smuggling and bribery.

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