Thu, Mar 07, 2013 - Page 1 News List

US court sentences Bamboo Union gang hitman to life in jail

By William Lowther  /  Staff reporter in WASHINGTON

A Chinese hitman said to be working for the Taiwanese “Bamboo Union” (竹聯幫) gang was sentenced to life in prison — without chance of parole — by a judge in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Tuesday.

Bai Xiao Ye, 26, a martial arts expert, was convicted of murder, kidnapping, extortion and conspiracy to commit murder. To ensure that Bai never gets out of jail, Judge Michael Villani added 32 to 85 years on top of his life sentence.

According to reports, the court was told that Bai grew up in China, where he was abused as a child by his mother, who hit him with a baseball bat. He emigrated to the US when he was a teenager.

Prosecutors said that Bai then began to work for the Taiwan-based gang, which operates in California and Nevada casinos. They alleged that Bai made his living killing people and that he was a sociopath.

Bai was said to have been sent by the gang to force another Chinese immigrant, Li Wen Jun (李文忠), to pay a US$10,000 gambling debt.

On one occasion, Bai beat Li and made him promise to pay the debt, but when Li failed to pay, Bai tracked him to a karaoke bar near the Las Vegas Strip and stabbed him 32 times in an attack that took place in the early hours of July 2009. Li died from stab wounds to the head and neck. Two other people in the bar were slashed and stabbed by Bai when they tried to help Li.

Bai’s former girlfriend, Pei “Nikki” Pei, was sentenced to two years probation on charges of accessory to murder. She admitted driving Bai to the karaoke bar and gave evidence against him.

Bai has also been charged in California with killing one person and wounding another in a shooting outside a karaoke bar in Los Angeles.

Prosecutors on Tuesday did not know when the California case would go to trial and one source suggested it might be dropped in view of the Nevada sentence.

Speaking through a Mandarin interpreter, Bai broke down and cried as he told the court that he wanted to live in a more “positive” way while in prison.

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