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Tycoon's sentence is reduced

By MA ZHENHUAN | China Daily | Updated: 2018-03-24 08:54

Businesswoman's death penalty for illegal activity cut to 25 years

Wu Ying, a former business tycoon, had her suspended death sentence reduced to 25 years in prison at a local court in Zhejiang province on Friday.

Wu, previously the owner of Zhejiang-based Bense Holding Group and once one of China's richest women, was sentenced to death in 2009 for illegal fundraising. Her case triggered huge public attention as there was divided opinion on whether she deserved death for the crime.

Wu, 37, was found guilty of illegally raising 770 million yuan ($121 million) from 11 investors between 2003 and 2005 and cheating them out of 380 million yuan by offering high returns, while she spent the money on a lavish lifestyle, according to earlier court verdicts.

In October 2009, Wu was sentenced to death by the Jinhua Intermediate People's Court in Zhejiang. She appealed to the Supreme People's Court for an acquittal.

The top court rejected Wu's death penalty in a review of the case in April 2012, and a month later the Zhejiang High People's Court gave Wu a suspended death sentence with a two-year reprieve. That was further commuted to life in prison in July, 2014.

On Friday, the Zhejiang High People's Court ruled that Wu had obeyed the re-education management from the prison authority and sought to actively convert herself through laboring at the Zhejiang Women's Prison. She also attended various learning courses and obeyed prison discipline, winning nine commendations since 2012.

In view of Wu's repentance, the prison, under the approval of Zhejiang Prison Management Bureau, suggested her reduced penalty to the Zhejiang High People's Court.

Friday's trial was attended by Wu, her relatives and civilians in the Xihu district of Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang.

Wu Yongzheng, Wu Ying's father, was quoted by the Shanghai-based ThePaper.cn on Friday as saying that they will next focus on launching administrative appeals and proceedings against related parties.

In May 2013, Wu filed an appeal against the local government in Dongyang, where she grew up and started the business, for judicial intervention.

At the just concluded annual session of the National People's Congress, Chief Justice Zhou Qiang said that Chinese courts will improve judicial work toward the goal that "property will be safer and rights better protected".

Courts will work to create a sound legal environment for businesses and enhance protection of property rights, Zhou said on March 9.

Efforts should be made to allow entrepreneurs to "stay focused on doing business and feel secure to invest and operate their businesses," he said.

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