18 November 2019 :
A former tycoon in China who built a £1 billion empire through sheer violence and terror on 6 November 2019 was sentenced to death with reprieve.
Ex-paramilitary Chen Hongzhi amassed astonishing fortune in just over a decade by expanding his coal mine business through robbing, bribing and even killing, according to a Chinese court.
In order to satisfy his greed, the 44-year-old from the province of Shanxi formed and led a criminal syndicate with more than 70 triad gangsters to threaten, kidnap and beat whomever stood in his way.
Local officials were forced to take orders from the man - or risk being attacked - and he even ordered the course of a river to be altered and a dam to be built near his home to bring him better fengshui, reported state broadcaster CCTV.
Chen was arrested in July last year after the Chinese authority received a tip-off from a local official he had terrorised.
On 6 November the ex-magnate was handed the capital punishment with a two-year reprieve by the Intermediate People's Court of Changzhi in Shanxi Province.
The court found him guilty of more than 10 crimes, including organising and leading underground organisations, illegal mining, coercive business transaction, intentional assault, kidnapping, robbery, fraud, tampering with evidence, etc.