Saga of the subcontracted assassins: Five hitmen and a Chinese businessman are jailed for attempted murder over hit they kept outsourcing before final ‘killer’ tried to persuade the target to fake his own death
- Businessman Tan Youhui paid £218,000 to eliminate a rival during a legal dispute
- He hired a hitman who farmed the job out to another assassin who did the same
- The chain continued until the fifth contractor gave the game away to the target
Six men have been jailed in China over a botched assassination plot in which a series of reluctant hitmen passed the job down the line until one of them blew their cover.
Businessman Tan Youhui paid two million yuan (£218,000) to have his rival Wei Mou eliminated but the hitman he hired proved a poor choice.
The assassin, Xi Guangan, farmed out the job to another hitman – an act of outsourcing which repeated itself three times with the fee declining each time.
Eventually, the job passed to a fifth contractor, Ling Xiansi, who gave the game away by meeting with the target in a cafe and trying to persuade him to fake his own death.
Guilty: The hitmen are presented at a court in China where they were found guilty of attempted murder over a botched assassination plot they kept contracting out to each other
By the time the job passed to the fifth hitman, each one had taken a cut of the money and Ling was offered only 100,000 yuan (£11,000) for the killing.
Ling chickened out and told Wei there was a price on his head.
The intended target agreed to pose with a staged photo in which he was gagged and his hands were tied.
The hitman used the photos to claim that he had carried out the assassination job as requested.
He later told police, who investigated the whole chain – but the six men were initially found not guilty.
Courtroom drama: After a long-running legal saga the five hitmen and the businessman have finally been convicted of attempted murder
That was unusual in itself, in a country where courts have a 99 per cent conviction rate.
The legal saga has been running since 2016 and a retrial has lasted three years.
But last week a court in Nanning announced the five hitmen and the businessman had finally been convicted of attempted murder.
The businessman who originally ordered the job was jailed for five years while the hitmen received prison terms between two and four years.
Youhui had been locked in a legal dispute with his rival’s firm in 2013 and hoped to eliminate the other businessman.