China gangsters arrested at banquet
Hundreds of Chinese armed police stormed a banquet and arrested dozens of leaders of two criminal gangs that controlled more than 20 factories in the booming southern province of Guangdong, a newspaper said on Wednesday. The gangs were so influential in the city of Yangjiang that a Vice Minister of Public Security had to order the operation, the Beijing News said. Police in Yangjiang had been too thoroughly infiltrated by the gangs to be called upon for the raid of the four-storey hotpot restaurant, owned by a ringleader who became a local lawmaker in 2004, the newspaper said. “All policemen in Yangjiang were ordered to stay in their offices that night,” it quoted an unnamed source as saying. Dozens of senior police officers in the city were sent on a sightseeing trip days earlier, it added.The gangs had terrorised the city for more than a decade, using violence to monopolise lucrative businesses such as transport, cooking gas and seafood, the Beijing News said. The gangs and the factories they ran boasted a membership of about 30,000 amid surging crime accompanying the wild west economic growth in Guangdong, a manufacturing dynamo that accounts for more than 30 percent of China’s exports.