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Hilton shareholder gets life for organised crime

04 may 2011, 17:21
Former Hilton shareholder Peng Zhimin. www.eeo.com.cn©
Former Hilton shareholder Peng Zhimin. www.eeo.com.cn©
A Chinese court sentenced a top shareholder in a Hilton hotel to life in prison Wednesday for engaging in organised crime including running a prostitution ring at the hotel, state media reported, AFP reports.

Peng Zhimin was convicted in the southwestern mega-city of Chongqing of bribery, prostitution, intentional injury, assault and other charges relating to organised crime, Xinhua news agency reported.

The punishment is the latest meted out by the courts in a major crackdown on Chongqing's seedy underworld that resulted in the execution last year of Wen Qiang, once the top judicial authority in the mega-city of 30 million people.

Officials at the court refused to comment on the case when contacted by AFP.

According to the report, 31 other defendants linked to Peng's criminal gang were sentenced to terms ranging from several years to life in prison.

Peng -- the head of the Qinglong Property Development Co, which owned the Chongqing Hilton Hotel -- was arrested in July last year, when authorities shut down the hotel and launched the investigation.

The Hilton International Hotel Group, which managed the business in a joint venture with the property company, said at the time it was fully cooperating with the investigation. The hotel has since reopened.

The crackdown on organised crime in Chongqing has resulted in more than 3,300 detentions and hundreds of prosecutions, including the trials of nearly 100 senior officials.

The trials have shocked the nation by exposing the impunity enjoyed by Chongqing mafia bosses and the corrupt officials who protected them.

Wen, the former top Chongqing police and justice official at the centre of the scandal, was executed in July 2010. He had been convicted on charges including rape and taking bribes to protect criminal gangs.

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