China tycoon Liu Han charged for 'mafia-style' crimes

File photo: Liu Han, former chairman of Hanlong Mining, smokes a cigarette during a conference in Mianyang, Sichuan province, 21 March 2008 Liu Han has previously been ranked amongst China's 500 wealthiest people

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A Chinese court has charged a tycoon with crimes including murder, intentional injury and organising a "mafia-style gang", state media report.

Liu Han, ex-head of mining conglomerate Sichuan Hanlong Group, was charged with his brother Liu Wei and 33 others.

His gang, active since 1993, were being charged in connection with nine murders, Xinhua news agency reported.

It described the gang as one of the largest criminal organisations in China to be prosecuted in recent years.

Liu Han has been detained since March last year.

The Xianning People's Procuratorate in Hubei province in central China filed the charges on Thursday, state media said.

In addition to murder and intentional assault, the defendants were also accused of illegal detention, extortion and casino crimes, Xinhua reported. Police seized 20 guns and three hand grenades, it added.

According to prosecutors, "the defendants also did everything possible to entice and corrupt state officials, to seek their protection, and to consolidate and widen their influence on society", Xinhua added.

Liu Han was ranked 148th on Forbes' list of the richest Chinese businesspeople in 2012.

His former company, Sichuan Hanlong Group, has tried to take over Australian miner Sundance Resources Ltd in the past.

Liu Han was previously a delegate of Sichuan's political advisory body.

Several Sichuan-linked officials have been investigated by the authorities in recent months, including Ji Wenlin, the vice-governor of Hainan province, and Li Chongxi, who was chair of Sichuan's Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

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