YINGKOU, China -- To hear Chinese authorities tell it, Wang Zhendong is a danger to society, the worst kind of person, one who took advantage of his fellow citizens' naivete and trust. Last month, a court here gave him the death penalty for his crimes.
As China moves fitfully from a planned economy to a free-market system, cracking down on fraud, embezzlement and other financial schemes has become a major priority for the government. Among the cases taken most seriously are ones that harmed common people...
In China, where more than 60 types of crimes -- including economic ones like tax fraud and bribery -- are punishable by death, the government has been criticized for its broad application of the death penalty. Some estimates put the number of court-ordered executions at as high as 10,000 a year. In 2005, Amnesty International logged 1,770 executions, or about 80 percent of the known total worldwide. [Full Text]
Related details A Scam in a Box
Wang Zhendong of Yingkou, China
A death sentence
A Ponzi-type scam involving ant farms, promising a 40 percent yearly return. Investors got some payments before the scheme unraveled.
More than 36,000 people invested, with some spending all their savings. Above, victims of the scheme gather outside a sales office.