CHANGSHA, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) - The Hunan Provincial Higher People's Court on Friday upheld the death sentence for criminal gang leader Du Shaoping, who has been convicted of multiple crimes including murder.
The court has submitted the death sentence to the Supreme People's Court for approval.
The court also upheld the verdicts of seven other defendants who were members of the crime group including Luo Guangzhong, Du's accomplice in the murder, who has been handed a death sentence with a two-year reprieve.
An investigation found that Du was contracted to build a playground for Xinhuang No. 1 Middle School in Xinhuang Dong Autonomous County in December 2001 and hired Luo to take charge of the project.
During the construction, Du became dissatisfied with Deng Shiping, a staff member of the school who oversaw the construction. Du and Luo killed Deng on Jan. 22, 2003 and buried Deng's remains under the playground.
Since 2008, a 13-member crime group led by Du used violent and threatening means to collect usury principal and interest, meddled in civil disputes and sought illegal benefits. They also committed crimes including illegal detention, gathering crowds for fighting and forced transactions.