Police Investigated in China Gang Bust

At least six district police chiefs are being investigated on suspicion of protecting local gangs in a major crackdown on crime in the southwest city of Chongqing, state media said Friday.

The six are suspected of being "protective umbrellas" for
gangs, the official China Daily reported. Local media has reported
that the gangs were involved in illegal casinos, loan sharking and
extortion.

Chongqing is nearly two months into a concerted campaign against
gangs that has already snared the head of the judicial bureau and a
former longtime deputy head of the police, who was detained earlier
this month. So far, 1,544 suspects have been investigated,
including prominent business people, the newspaper said.

Corruption is a widespread and deeply rooted problem in China,
sparking public anger that often spills into demonstrations and
violent protests. The corruption has also resulted in an explosion
of criminal gangs, many operating openly in some areas with the
support of local officials.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported recently that more than
3,000 gangsters involved in mafia-style crimes had been broken up
over the last 3-1/2 years around the country.

Earlier this month, a government spokesman said that more than
100 gangsters had been detained in Chongqing alone and that 14
gangs were broken up.

The China Daily cited a senior police officer saying 30 to 40
police officers have been detained in the city so far for
involvement in crimes or for protecting gangs, including six
directors or deputy-directors of district-level bureaus.

Three of the six officers were detained a few mintues before the
opening of a meeting organized by the police last week that was to
focus on the crackdown.

No one answered the phone Friday at the news office of the
Chongqing police or at the office for publicity of district
bureaus.

China Newsweek magazine said that as of the end of July, 502
officers from the police, courts and prosecutors were being
investigated.

Chongqing's Communist Party Secretary Bo Xilai, a former
minister of commerce and a member of the powerful Politburo, has
promised to clean up the city since being appointed to run
Chongqing in late 2007.

As part of the campaign, Wen Qiang, the previous deputy director
of the city police - a post he held for 16 years until last year -
was detained in an internal investigation.

Wang Lijun, know for being tough on gangs, has been brought in
to clean up from northeast Liaoning province, where Bo was
previously governor.


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