In China’s western municipality of Chongqing, a special deployment of 25,000 police officers was called in to fight organized crime. Chongqing city proper has around five million people but the region– called the “municipality” — has closer to 32 million (California’s population is about 36 million). Last month, police said they had so far detained 4,893 suspected gangsters and formally arrested about 1,500. Among the 30 or so municipal officials being held are a former deputy police commissioner and the head of the justice bureau, Wen Qiang.
The China Daily (which usually reflects the government’s views) referred to Wen as Chongqing’s criminal godfather. The paper said he amassed at least $15 million through bribes for providing “a protective umbrella” that shielded gangsters from the authorities. Reports say at least a fifth of the local police officers have been fired and the rest have been reassigned to break up Wen’s web of patronage.
Like Batman’s worst nightmare, Chongqing’s police corruption unleashed a reign of terror. The U.K. Telegraph quoted a local resident as saying: “People who do not live here cannot imagine what goes on. The gangs were shooting people down in the city center in broad daylight or hacking them to death. Their victims could never report the cases to the police for fear of revenge.”
Of the first group of gangsters to go on trial, six have been sentenced to death and 25 others were given sentences ranging from one to 18 years in prison.
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Congratulations to all New York Yankees fans. A great team proved its worth after a drought, if you can call it that, of nine years. The real drought, of course, was the 86 years when the Boston Red Sox didn’t win a world series. Their dry spell stretched from 1918 to 2004. During that time, the Yankees won the series 26 times. We grew up in New England during some of the years between 1918 and 2004. While the Yankees’ fans were having all the fun, Boston’s were given the chance to learn faithfulness, patience, and humility — good things to know. But we’re ready for a bit more fun. Maybe next year.
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Our thanks to the correspondent who let us know this week that Bribery Abroad will be the basis for a seminar next semester at their law school. That news gives us a slim but adequate excuse to post the link to our favorite YouTube video here.