World News

Chinese gang boss "with crush on guns" gets life

BEIJING (Reuters) - A gun-toting Chinese official who owned two Ferraris and liked driving around in an amoured personnel carrier has been jailed for life for illegal weapons possession and fraud, state media reported on Friday.

Yang Shukuan, a former member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference for the northern city of Tangshan and the head of an organized crime ring, was arrested for extortion last year.

“The prosecutor said Yang and other gang members had dominated the area in which they lived, bullying locals and causing untold damage to local economic and social activity,” the China Daily said, citing state television.

Yang, “reported to have had a crush on guns ever since he was a little boy”, had amassed over 100 million yuan ($14 million) in assets, in part through forcing businessmen to sign contracts at gun-point, the paper said.

Apart from a 7 million yuan Rolls-Royce and 20 other cars belonging to his wife, police found 31 guns and four armored cars in Yang’s possession -- “jeeps and military cars refitted as attack vehicles”, the paper said.

Yang would drive the armored cars around Tangshan to terrorize locals and attack rivals, the paper said.

Yang’s company was also fined 30 million yuan by a local court in northeastern Hebei province, the paper said.

State media earlier reported that Yang had hired an assassin to kill a real estate developer who tried to retrieve a 70 million-yuan investment, but the gun-for-hire turned himself in and disclosed the plot to police.

Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Nick Macfie