BEIJING - A court in southwest China sentenced the ringleader of an illegal gambling syndicate to 18 years in prison Tuesday, the latest verdict in a massive series of trials targeting organised crime.
A municipal court in Chongqing convicted Xie Caiping - sister-in-law of the former head of the city's judiciary, Wen Qiang - of a series of crimes linked to the gambling syndicate, said the verdict, posted on the court's website.
She was also fined $210,000.
Xie, 46, allegedly ran 20 illegal gambling dens in Chongqing hotels, night clubs and tea houses, was involved in illegal detention and drug activity, and bribed police to turn a blind eye to her crimes, earlier press reports said.
Twenty-one other suspects were sentenced along with Xie to jail terms ranging from one to 13 years, the court said.
The former vice director of a Chongqing public security precinct, Guo Sheng, and policeman Gan Yong were sentenced to 13 and 12 years in prison respectively for accepting bribes and offering Xie protection, it said.
Luo Xuan, 29, who reportedly was Xie's lover, was sentenced to four-and-a-half-years in jail for his role in the syndicate, it added.
Last month, courts in Chongqing sentenced six people to death in the trials linked to the murky underworld in the city of over 30 million - a spectacle that has fascinated the nation with tales of sex, gambling and corruption.
State media reports have especially shone the spotlight on Xie, who reportedly drove a Mercedes-Benz, owned several luxury villas and kept a stable of 16 young men to provide her with sexual services.
Her brother-in-law, Wen, served as a top Chongqing police official for 16 years before taking over the city's judiciary.
He is the highest-ranking official ensnared in the crackdown that has led to the arrest of more than 1,500 suspects. Wen is accused of protecting an intricate web of businessmen, officials and mobsters.