Thu, Nov 05, 2009 - Page 14 News List

‘Godmother of the underworld’

By Tania Branigan  /  THE GUARDIAN , BEIJING

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A string of gambling dens; a young lover lavished with gifts; brutal tactics that included the beating of an undercover cop investigating the powerful crime syndicate. Xie Caiping had all the hallmarks of a typical gang boss — with one big difference: she was a woman.

The “godmother of the underworld” has been jailed for 18 years, the state news agency Xinhua reported on Tuesday.

» Residents have been agog at details of 46-year-old Xie’s case, with several expressing amazement that a woman could head a “black society.”

» Xie is the sister-in-law of Wen Qiang, for many years the city’s deputy police chief and then director of its justice bureau, until his detention in August. He has been accused of sheltering gangs and will stand trial shortly on a string of charges.

» One of Xie’s gambling halls was in a hotel opposite the Chongqing high court and next to the municipal prosecutor’s office.

» Xie was convicted of organizing and leading a criminal syndicate, running gambling dens, illegal imprisonment, harboring people taking illegal drugs and giving bribes to officials, said Xinhua.

» Living up to the stereotype of the hard-bitten gangster, she swore in court, to the displeasure of the judge.

» One associate described her as “good at debating and drinking, and very helpful to friends.”

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