Beijing: China on Monday executed five members of a mafia-style gang, including a mining tycoon with alleged links to disgraced ruling Communist Party leader Zhou Yongkang in connection with eight murders and for crimes like vandalism and gunrunning.
With the approval of the Supreme People's Court (SPC), the Xianning Intermediate People's Court executed Liu Han, his brother Liu Wei, Tang Xianbing, Zhang Donghua and Tian Xianwei, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The Liu brothers who once tried to bid for Australia's Sundance Resources were convicted along 34 others for organising, leading or participating in a gang, and murder in May last year.
The five defendants were sentenced to death, another five were sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve, four to life imprisonment and 22 to varying prison terms.
Liu Han was board chairman of the Hanlong Group, the biggest private enterprise in southwest China's Sichuan Province. He owned subsidiaries in the electricity, energy, finance, mining, real estate and securities sectors. He was reportedly connected to Zhou, the national security chief under previous President Hu Jintao administration. Zhou is currently being investigated.
"The case was extremely vile and harmful," the court said in a statement today.
The gang have been linked to eight deaths, gun sales, racketeering, vandalism, obstruction of official duties, disturbance of the peace, gambling and harboring of criminals, the SPC said.
Liu Han was also responsible for Hanlong Group's loan racket and other "extremely harmful" monetary crimes, it said.