BEIJING (AP) _ Two members of a criminal gang that battered people to death with a hammer and robbed them were executed in Beijing on Friday, state media reported.

Li Jiwen of northeast China's Heilongjiang province and Zhang Yu of central China's Hubei province committed the crimes individually or with others around Beijing in November and December, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Li and Zhang each murdered one person and injured many others. Their illegal gains totaled $2,675, Xinhua said.

China executes thousands of people each year for crimes ranging from murder to tax evasion. Courts have been told to hand down more death penalties and speed up trials as part of the government's recently renewed ``Strike Hard'' campaign against crime.