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Chinese Police Arrest Legislator

July 17, 2000

BEIJING (AP) _ Police have arrested a local legislator in northeast China, accusing him of running a gang that killed or injured dozens of people to advance his business interests, a state-run newspaper said Monday.

Three police officers who worked for the suspect, Liu Yong, were also detained in the city of Shenyang, the Beijing Youth Daily said.

Liu, arrested last week, was a representative in the Shenyang People’s Congress, a largely powerless body that generally rubber stamps government policies.

Liu’s membership in the legislature was canceled a week before his arrest, the newspaper said.

A string of scandals has badly damaged the party’s image in recent years. Seeking to assure the public that it is serious about cracking down on graft, the government has occasionally announced arrests of high-level officials.

An official with the Shenyang Public Security Bureau _ who would only give his surname, Zhang _ confirmed that Liu had been arrested, but the official declined to discuss the specifics of the case. He said reports of the arrest in state-run media were accurate.

Liu, 40, founded the Jiayang Group, which was involved in the clothing, entertainment, real estate and food and beverage industries, the newspaper said.

The company frequently used intimidation and other illegal means to expand its business, the report said. Dozens of people were either killed or injured by thugs working for Liu, the paper said, without providing a specific number of deaths.

The company’s main phone line was not being answered late Monday.

The newspaper said when police were detaining Liu, he tried to kill himself by swallowing a bottle of sleeping pills. He was taken to the hospital for treatment.

Update hourly