Two more executed in China mafia crackdown

Two mafia figures were executed on Sunday as part of a huge crackdown on graft and organised crime in southwest China that has riveted the nation, state media reported.

Yue Cun, a gang leader in the mega-city of Chongqing, was put to death for murder, intentional injury, extortion, illegal trade in firearms and ammunition and other crimes, the official China News Service said.

Yin Zhiwei, who was part of Yue's criminal group, was also executed, it added.

The two are the latest to be sentenced to death or executed in the clampdown, which has lifted the lid on Chongqing's seamy underworld and highlighted China's problem of rampant official corruption.

In July, authorities executed Wen Qiang, a former top police and justice official, for charges including rape and taking bribes to protect criminal gangs.

Yue was sentenced to death in February this year. He was also fined 150 million yuan (22 million dollars), the report said, adding that his subsequent appeal was rejected by a Chongqing court in May.

Calls to the Supreme People's Court, which approved the execution, went unanswered.

More than 3,300 people have been detained and hundreds prosecuted in the effort to clean up Chongqing, shocking the public by exposing the impunity enjoyed by mafia bosses and the corrupt officials who protected them.

But some lawyers have also raised concerns over human rights, calling on China's top prosecution agency to investigate allegations that torture has been used to extract confessions from defendants.

The crackdown is widely seen as a bid by Chongqing communist party chief Bo Xilai -- considered one of the party's most popular and charismatic figures -- to move up in the national hierarchy.

Other news