New details show seized law suspects' 'misconduct'

Updated: 2015-07-20 07:53

By Xinhua(China Daily)

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Ministry of Public Security says 9 placed under 'coercive measures'

Lawyers seized by police for allegedly organizing paid protests to sway court decisions in the name of rights protection would make scenes inside and outside a court to enhance their own reputations, the latest case details reveal in a statement issued by the Ministry of Public Security.

According to the statement released on Saturday, nine lawyers and several other suspects have been placed under "coercive measures", which, according to the Criminal Procedure Law, include summons by force, bail, residential surveillance, detention and arrest.

The group, led by Fengrui Law Firm, is suspected of being involved in disrupting public order and seeking profits by illegally hiring protesters and swaying court decisions in the name of "defending justice and public interests".

According to the ministry's statement, the police investigation found that since July 2012 the group had organized more than 40 such incidents.

"At the Fengrui Law Firm, Wu Gan was famously known to specialize in the 'physical' aspect of things, along with a group of 'warriors','" said Xie Yuandong, one of those arrested and formerly an intern lawyer with the firm.

"They completely disregarded legal facts or laws and regulations when in court, and could always make a scene outdoors no matter how big or small the case was," Xie said.

According to Zhou, Wu's reputation as a "butcher" was huge, and government departments would pay attention when they knew Wu was coming.

Meanwhile, suspect Liu Six-in, an assistant with the firm who holds a doctorate in law, said that he wrote and prepared all documents needed for a hearing which Zhou read verbatim at court, describing Zhou's work as "very unprofessional".

Camera recordings from a court hearing in the northeastern city of Shenyang in April appear to show several defending lawyers shouting and screaming shortly after the trial opened, despite the judges' calls for order. They later allegedly targeted the police when they tried to interfere, with the firm's lawyer Wang Yu pointing fingers and calling them "hooligans", the ministry's statement said.

Jiao Yuling, a senior judge at the court, said that four trials concerning the same case had to be aborted due to the commotion created by defending lawyers, the defendants and their relatives.

According to the ministry's statement, making a scene and then being forced out of court was the group's usual way of creating an image of themselves as victims.

"Fengrui Law Firm was very young back then and couldn't compare with other influential counterparts. I wanted to manage several huge cases, and once I had a reputation, I could make more money," Zhou said, according to the statement.

"I let my subordinates do whatever they could to boost the firm's reputation. For major, difficult cases, I would instruct them to create some influence and attract public attention," Zhou said.

The police found that people recruited by Zhou included retired government officials, reporters with State-run media groups, and lawyers who had already earned reputations for nonprofessional conduct, the ministry's statement said.

(China Daily 07/20/2015 page3)