While there’s nothing funny about assassination attempts, the story of a Guangxi business owner hiring a person(s) to ‘take out’ one of his competitors is practically a movie in the making.
On October 17, a court in Nanning, Guangxi sentenced six men, all involved with an assassination scheme for the ages, to varying prison sentences for intentional homicide.
According to a statement regarding the case on Nanning Intermediate People’s Court’s website, the story dates back to 2013 when the defendant, a real estate business owner named Tan Youhui, got into a business dispute with the victim, a competitor named Wei, which led to Wei filing a civil lawsuit against Tan.
In October 2013, Tan hired a man named Xi Guangan to kill Wei, fearing that their dispute could lead to Tan losing money. Tan agreed to pay Xi RMB2 million to murder his competitor. Xi, in turn, went on to pay another individual, Mo Tianxiang, half of that sum (RMB1 million) to complete the job. According to Nanning court’s statement, Xi Guangan collected a photocopy of the target’s (Wei) ID card, his phone number and license plate number, among other information, and went back to Tan asking for an additional RMB1 million to carry out the assassination. Tan agreed to pay him the remainder after the job was finished.
However, the carousel of hired killers continued as Mo Tianxiang (the guy receiving RMB1 million) reached out to another person, Yang Kangsheng, who agreed to do the job for RMB270,000 up front, with a RMB500,000 bonus after Wei was taken out.
Yet again, the hired killer hired another person for the task, with Yang Kangsheng giving a man named Yang Guangsheng RMB200,000 to off Wei, while agreeing to pay the second Yang RMB500,000 after the job is complete.
And finally, Yang Guangsheng turned around and hired another person (five hired hit men in total). He contacted Ling Xiansi and lowballed him, offering to pay Ling RMB100,000 once Wei was killed. Yang also provided Ling with information on Wei, which he used to contact the victim and arrange a deal.
On April 28, 2014, Ling left a note for Wei with his contact information and the two met up at a coffee shop in Nanning’s Qingxu district. Ling told Wei that there was a hit on him for RMB100,000 (which in reality was RMB2 million) and devised a plan to fake Wei’s death by taking a photo of Wei tied up, and report back to Yang Guangsheng.
Image via @澎湃新闻/Weibo
According to a report by National Business Daily, Wei agreed to Ling’s stunt, allowing Ling to take a photo of him tied up and with tape covering his mouth, all while Wei’s colleague recorded the event on his phone. Wei then turned off his phone and went to Shanghai to visit a sick relative for around 10 days before returning to Nanning. NBD reported that Wei had tried to find the mastermind behind the assassination plot but came up empty. After living in fear for three months, he reported the case to the Nanning Public Security Bureau’s criminal investigation team on August 4, 2014.
Due to a lack of clear evidence, a trial held in 2016 gave the six defendants a non-guilty verdict; however, the prosecutor’s office appealed the ruling and the court allowed them to re-open the investigation.
Following three years of ongoing trial, the court handed Tan Youhui, the person who originally called the hit, a five-year prison sentence; Xi Guangan was sentenced to three years and six months; Yang Kangsheng and Yang Guangsheng were sentenced to three years and three months; Mo Tianxiang was sentenced to three years; and Ling Xiansi was sentenced to two years and seven months.
The story has baffled many in the online community, with several Weibo users likening the drawn-out story to a movie. “Quick, quick, quick, which director is going to make a dark comedy movie, the script is all here,” one person posted. We wouldn’t be surprised to see an adaptation of the story coming to a theater near you.
[Cover image via @澎湃新闻/Weibo]