A file photo of Sun Xiaoguo.
A central inspection group targeting gang-related crimes on Friday required Yunnan authorities to probe a case in which a death penalty convict managed to escape capital punishment and continue to lead criminal gangs.
The Yunnan Committee of the Communist Party of China said that all civil servants who had helped shelter the convict would be investigated and punished according to the law, no matter how high ranking they are.
Findings will be made public in a timely manner to address public concern, it said in a statement on Friday.
Sun Xiaoguo from Kunming, Southwest China’s Yunnan province, has a long list of criminal convictions dating back to 1994.
Convicted of rape, Sun was sentenced to two years in jail in 1995. In 1998, he was sentenced to death for crimes such as rape and intentional injury, according to a Southern Weekly report.
A local newspaper in Kunming reported late April this year that several criminal gangs, including one led by Sun, had been smashed in a crackdown on gang-related crimes. Sun was arrested again for gang activities in April.
Follow-up stories in the national media discovered that Sun was the same man convicted in 1998 and that he had therefore escaped death and been living as a free man.
Since his release, Sun changed his surname to Li and started to run several businesses including a number of nightclubs in Kunming. It was reported that he was nicknamed Big Boss Li by locals.
It was reported that Sun’s mother was the police officer handling the criminal investigation, while his stepfather was the deputy head of a district police station in Kunming. The identity of his father remains a mystery.
Since early last year, China has stepped up efforts to crack down on criminal gangs, launching a three-year campaign against organized crime and officials who shelter such criminal organizations.
Chinese police by February had busted nearly 7,000 mafia-style groups and cracked 79,270 criminal cases, seized 851 guns and assets worth 62.1 billion yuan ($9.23 billion, according to a report issued by the Ministry of Public Security.