09/10

CPS Prosecution Ensures Two Cannabis Gang Members Get Life For Brutal Murder in North Yorkshire

30/09/2010

A Chinese worker who was part of a gang involved in an industrial scale cannabis-growing operation at Elvington, North Yorkshire, was beaten to death and his body dumped in the Selby Canal after a dispute over his share of the profits, a spokeswoman from CPS North Yorkshire said today.

A Chinese worker who was part of a gang involved in an industrial scale cannabis-growing operation at Elvington, North Yorkshire, was beaten to death and his body dumped in the Selby Canal after a dispute over his share of the profits, a spokeswoman from CPS North Yorkshire said today.

In March 2009, a trussed body, wrapped in bin liners, was found by two anglers in the canal at Burn, near Selby. The body was later identified as that of Cai Guan Chen, who had entered the country illegally in 2001.

Subsequent enquiries linked the dead man to the cannabis factory in a warehouse at Elvington near York, where 1, 500 cannabis plants had been discovered in February 2009.  In June, Bao Lung Huang and Zhouli Zhang were found guilty of his murder and both were sentenced to life imprisonment. Huang was sentenced to a minimum of 18 years and Zhang to a minimum of 16 years.

Shaozhe Wang was found not guilty of murder but was found guilty of perverting the course of justice and pleaded guilty to cannabis production, receiving a sentence of six years nine months.  Xia Hua Chen was found guilty of perverting the course of justice and pleaded guilty to cannabis production, receiving a sentence of four years nine months.  Reporting restrictions on the case have been in place until the end of the cannabis production trials which concluded today.

Caroline May, for CPS North Yorkshire said:

"This was a very complex case. We were determined that we would leave no stone unturned in securing convictions for the brutal murder of Cai Guan Chen and for the large-scale cultivation of cannabis at Elvington. We have worked closely with our colleagues in North Yorkshire Police throughout. These convictions are testimony to the commitment and dedication of the Police/CPS Prosecution Team.

"We believe that Mr Chen came to this country in 2001 from rural China. Working first in the restaurant trade, he later became involved in illegal cannabis production. Sadly, he paid for this with his life.

"We hope that the conviction of all those involved in Mr Chens brutal murder brings some justice for the family and sends out a very clear message: we will prosecute these crimes robustly and vigorously; organised crime and violence will not be tolerated in our community. I hope that these convictions bring some measure of comfort to Mr Chens widow and his family at home in China. Our thoughts go out to them."