May 18, 2006

Chinese school boss gets death sentence for attacks

BEIJING (Reuters) - The multi-millionaire head of a Chinese
private tuition firm has been sentenced to death for paying
gangs to attack competitors in a bid to win their business, a
newspaper said on Thursday.

Lu Yunpeng, 35, was among 15 people given death sentences
or jailed in connection with the grisly attacks -- one of them
fatal -- on private teachers in several cities, the Beijing
Times said.

Lu was sentenced by a court in Zhengzhou, capital of the
northern province of Henan. His cousin, Zhao Mingjie, an
employee of the company, and two other co-defendants, Zhao
Zhunzhang and Zhang Zhanke, were also sentenced to death.

Eleven others received jail terms ranging from life to a
few years in a case that involved "beating, disfigurement and
other measures of reprisal," the paper said.

The court found that last year Lu paid Zhao Zhunzhang and
four other people 10,000 yuan ($1,250) each to attack a man,
surnamed Qiao, who opened a school in the Henan city of

The victim was choked to death, the paper said.

Lu also paid thugs to assault two other competitors; one of
the victims suffered serious burns after having sulphuric acid
poured on his face and body.

Last March Chinese newspapers reported the execution of a
millionaire businessman who paid his brother and cousin to kill
a blackmailer privy to a failed murder attempt on a former
business partner.

($1=8.004 yuan)