Chinese mining tycoon Liu Han has been executed after being sentenced to death in May 2014 for “leading mafia-style crime and murder”, state media say.
Liu Han’s younger brother, Liu Wei and three other associates were also executed, Xinhua said, after China’s top court signed off on the move.
The former chairman of Hanlong Group is believed to have had links to former security tsar Zhou Yongkang, who is currently being investigated.
The Hanlong Group is a major private conglomerate based in Sichuan province, involved in multiple industries including mining, telecommunications and chemicals.
As head of the company, Liu Han was both rich and very influential.
Xinhua said the company, which had been “harbored and indulged by government officials, had illegally monopolized the gaming business in Guanghan City in Sichuan province, tyrannized local people and seriously harmed the local economic and social order”.
In recent months, several top officials from Sichuan province have come under scrutiny.
Sichuan was a power base of Zhou Yongkang, China’s former domestic security chief who is now the subject of a corruption probe.
Zhou Yongkang was the party secretary in Sichuan before becoming head of China’s public security ministry in 2003.
He was arrested in December 2014, the latest and by far the most senior figure to be handed over to prosecutors as part of President Xi Jinping’s crackdown on corruption.
Official reports do not specifically link Liu Han’s case with Zhou Yongkang.
Liu Han was an associate of Zhou Bin, Zhou Yongkang’s son, the South China Morning Post reported.
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A powerful earthquake hit China’s south-western province of Sichuan killing at least 46 people and injuring at least 400, state TV reports.
The US Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake, which had a 6.6 magnitude, was centred 31 miles west of the town of Linqiong.
The tremor occurred at a depth of 7.4 miles.
There are fears the death toll could rise further.
An 8.0 magnitude quake in Sichuan in May 2008 killed nearly 90,000 people.
An 8.0 magnitude earthquake in Sichuan in May 2008 killed nearly 90,000 people
The latest quake – initially reported as a 7.0 magnitude, and then at 6.9 – struck at 08:02 local time, the USGS said.
The earthquake was felt 71 miles away in the provincial capital, Chengdu, according to China’s state news agency Xinhua.
People ran into the streets wrapped in blankets, according to photos posted online. Other pictures showed buildings that had collapsed.
A resident in Chengdu told Xinhua he had been on the 13th floor of a building when he felt the quake. The building shook for about 20 seconds and he saw tiles fall from nearby buildings.
Electrical and water supplies have reportedly been cut to the affected area.
Telephone lines are also believed to be down.
Xinhua said 2,000 soldiers had been dispatched to the area to help with rescue efforts.
The city of Ya’an, close to the epicentre, has a population of 1.5 million.
The USGS noted that “significant” casualties were likely and that “extensive damage is probable and disaster is likely widespread”.
“Past events with this alert level have required a national or international level response,” it added.
The 2008 disaster in Sichuan left 5 million people homeless.