A Chinese court has charged a tycoon, Liu Han, ex-head of mining conglomerate Sichuan Hanlong Group with crimes including murder, intentional injury and organizing a “mafia-style gang.” Liu Han’s “gang” is described as one of the largest criminal organizations in China to be prosecuted in recent years. In addition to murder and intentional assault, Liu Han was also accused of illegal detention, extortion and casino crimes. Police reported the seizing of 20 guns and three hand grenades. Xinhua news reported this incident “the defendants also did everything possible to entice and corrupt state officials to seek their protection and to consolidate and widen their influence on society”. Liu Han’s former company has tried to take over Australian miner Sundance Resources Lit in the past and Liu Han was previously a delegate of Sichuan province’s political advisory body. Due to the influence of Han’s case, several Sichuan-linked officials have been investigated by the authorities in recent months, including Ji Wenlin, the vice-governor of Hainan Province and Li Chongxi, who was chair of Sichuan’s Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

(BBC, ABC News, WSJ, February 20, 2014)