(BEIJING) — Gillian Wong reports: When more than 500 policemen swooped in to arrest 40 suspected gangsters in southern China last year, the alleged kingpin was a Los Angeles businessman who had hoisted an U.S. flag amid a crowd to welcome Xi Jinping, now China’s president, to California.
Vincent Wu’s children and lawyers say he’s an upstanding, philanthropic Chinese-American entrepreneur who has been framed by business foes who want to seize his assets, including a nine-story shopping mall. But police in the southern city of Guangzhou say he was a ruthless mob boss who led gangsters with nicknames such as “Old Crab” and “Ferocious Mouth.”
Wu is expected to stand trial within weeks in Guangzhou on charges of heading a crime gang that kidnapped rivals, threw acid at a judge, set fire to farmers’ sheds, operated illegal gambling dens and committed other offenses. Wu has told his lawyers that police interrogators tortured him into confessing.