Death penalties for China's gold rush killers

Three people were sentenced to death and three others to death with two-year reprieves by a Chinese court today over a brawl among gold diggers that killed 19 people and left 15 missing, two decades ago.

PTI| Updated: Dec 30, 2014, 21:13 PM IST

Beijing: Three people were sentenced to death and three others to death with two-year reprieves by a Chinese court today over a brawl among gold diggers that killed 19 people and left 15 missing, two decades ago.

Guangyuan Intermediate People's Court in southwest China's Sichuan Province delivered the verdicts on 41 people charged with intentional homicide and affray.

Four were sentenced to life in prison and others got prison terms ranging from three to 15 years.

In a case that shocked the nation, in 1994 two groups of gold diggers led by Li Hong and Li Daiming, numbering over 180 people fought with guns, knives and explosives along the Bailongjiang River in Guangyuan, where a gold rush was taking place.

Two people, including Li Hong, were killed in the gun-and-knife fight, while 17 others were known to have drowned; 15 more bodies could not be found.

Li Daiming and other suspects went into hiding after the fight.

Li, however, surrendered to police in 2012 and was among the three given death penalties.