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China sentences mining tycoon to death

 Citizens watch outside the Xianning Intermediate People's Court where Chinese mining tycoon Liu Han stands trial on March 31, 2014/AFP

Citizens watch outside the Xianning Intermediate People’s Court where Chinese mining tycoon Liu Han stands trial on March 31, 2014/AFP

BEIJING, May 23- A Chinese court on Friday convicted a mining billionaire said to have links with former security tsar Zhou Yongkang of murder and sentenced him to death.

Liu Han led private company Hanlong, which once launched a billion dollar bid for an Australian firm. He and his brother Liu Wei were found guilty of “organising and leading a mafia style group”, murder and other crimes, the Xianning Intermediate People’s Court said.

They and three accomplices were sentenced to death.

The Liu brothers’ gang, based in the southwestern province of Sichuan, killed eight people and wounded many others over nearly 20 years, the court said in a posting on China’s Twitter like Sina Weibo.

“Liu Han and Liu Wei had extremely malicious intentions, their acts were exceptionally atrocious, their social influences were extremely vile and their crimes and the consequences were extremely serious,” it said. “They should be severely punished according to the law.”

Another 31 accused were given penalties ranging from suspended death sentences — normally commuted to life imprisonment — to three years in jail, state media said.

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