Page last updated at 12:23 GMT, Monday, 12 October 2009 13:23 UK

Chinese city begins gang trials

Alleged gang members on trial at Chongqing's First Intermediate People's Court - 12 October 2009
The alleged gang members include Yang Tianqing, far left

Thirty-one people have gone on trial in Chongqing in south-west China, accused of involvement in organised crime gangs.

The two trials are the first in a series resulting from investigations into 14 alleged mafia-style gangs, a local public security spokesman said.

The group face charges including murder, intentionally causing injury and extortion, state media said.

Police in Chongqing have cracked down on gangs in the city in recent months.

China's state-run news agency Xinhua said nine people were on trial at the city's First Intermediate People's Court.

The group, led by Yang Tianqing, faced charges spanning eight years, a court official said.

A further 22 people were on trial at the Third Intermediate People's Court, the agency said.

Led by Liu Zhingyong, they are accused of offences including murder, assault and operating illegal coal mines.

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