A court in central China's Hubei Province on Thursday rejected the appeal of former mining tycoon Liu Han, who was sentenced to death in May.
Liu Han, his brother Liu Wei and 34 other defendants were convicted of organizing, leading or participating in a mafia-style gang as well as murder in May.
Both Liu brothers and three other defendants were sentenced to death. Another five were sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve, four to life imprisonment and 22 to imprisonment of different terms.
The death sentence will still have to be reviewed by China's Supreme People's Court (SPC).
Liu Han was board chairman of the Hanlong Group, the biggest private enterprise in southwest China's Sichuan Province. He owned subsidiary companies in the electricity, energy, finance, mining, real estate and securities industries.
According to court verdicts after the first trial, the group led by the Liu brothers was identified as a criminal organization as it had an established hierarchy and regular members and profited from criminal activities.
The organization, which was harbored and indulged by government officials, illegally monopolized the gaming business in Guanghan City in Sichuan, tyrannized local people and seriously harmed the local economic and social order.
The 36 defendants were prosecuted in seven trials, the last of which ended on April 19. It was the largest criminal group of its kind to go on trial in China in recent years.
Defendants in five of the seven trials appealed, but only the Liu brothers' appeal was heard publicly. XIANNING, Hubei, Aug. 7 (Xinhua)