A mainland court has rejected the appeal of fallen flower baron Yang
Bin, sentenced to 18 years in jail for commercial crimes in a case
that emerged soon after North Korea named him the head of a planned
free trade zone.
The High People's Court of Liaoning province yesterday upheld Yang's
conviction in July of contract fraud, forgery, illegal use of farmland
and other crimes, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
Dutch citizen Yang, the orchid grower ranked China's second-richest
man by Forbes magazine in 2001, was detained last October just days
after Pyongyang unveiled plans for a free-trade enclave he was to run
on the Chinese border.
Meanwhile the possibility emerged that Yang, 40, could be deported to
The pro-Beijing Wen Wei Po newspaper said a meeting would be arranged
between the disgraced chairman of Hong Kong-listed Euro-Asia
Agricultural (Holdings) and Dutch Embassy staff today. The paper
quoted an embassy official who attended the appeal hearing as saying
the Dutch would consider the possibility of deportation.
Yang was accompanied by six lawyers and several representatives of his
company at the hearing, which began on Saturday morning.
A second secretary, commercial first secretary and a translator from
the Dutch embassy were in court.
Entering the court room, Yang waved to his friends and family members
with a "V" sign, declaring loudly: "I believe justice will rule
that I am not guilty."
The Wen Wei Po report said Yang had said he was not ready to sell his
pet project, an enclave of Dutch-style villas in the Liaoning
provincial capital, Shenyang. Reports said overseas investors had
expressed interest in buying the project.
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