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Sunday, July 19, 2015, 11:57

Seized lawyers' misconduct revealed

By Xinhua

Wu was also known to have played a key role in raising banners, shouting and screaming, obtaining the names of court judges and local officials and posting messages online to hype up cases on multiple occasions.

"Lawyers did what lawyers should. Butchers did what butchers should. This was good cooperation," said Zhou Shifeng, director of the firm who is also under police custody. "Although Wu was no lawyer, he was capable of doing what lawyers could not."

According to Zhou, Wu's reputation as "butcher" was huge, and any government department would pay great attention when they knew Wu was coming.

Meanwhile, suspect Liu Sixin, a firm assistant with a law PhD, revealed that he wrote and prepared basically all documents needed for a hearing and Zhou only read verbatim at court, describing Zhou's work as "very unprofessional."

Camera recordings for a court hearing in the northeastern city of Shenyang in April showed that several defending lawyers were shouting and screaming shortly after the trial opened despite judges' calls for order. They later switched targets to police trying to interfere, with the firm's female lawyer Wang Yu pointing fingers and calling them "hooligans."

Jiao Yuling, a chief judge with the court, said that all four trials on the same case had to be aborted due to the commotion created by defending lawyers, the defendants and their relatives.

According to the ministry statement, making a scene and then being forced out of court was the group's usual tricks to paint an image of victim for themselves, induce sympathy and hype up cases on a wider scope.

REPUTATION & PROFITS

"Fengrui Law Firm was very young back then and couldn't compare with other influential counterparts. I wanted to manage several huge cases, and once with a reputation, I could make more money," Zhou said.

Zhou reportedly only accepted high-profile cases, and for those small ones, the firm would always resort to methods to boost publicity.

"I let my subordinates do whatever they could to boost the firm's reputation. For major, difficult cases, I would instruct them to create some influence and attract public attention," Zhou said.

People recruited by Zhou included retired government officials, reporters with state-run media groups as well as lawyers who have already earned their names through non-professional effort.

"Wang Yu enjoyed quite a reputation in the lawyer industry. Although she earned it mostly from shrewish quarrels and public exposure, it was an indisputable fact that everybody knew her," Zhou said.

According to Zhou, people like Wang was exactly what he needed to raise the firm's reputation and hype up cases.

Referring to Huang Liqun, another suspect under police custody, Zhou said, "he was an official within the governmental system and had huge influence. I could take advantage of his resources, and use his influence to expand my own."

Judges who had encounters with the group during trials also noted that their aim was to delay hearings and pressure courts into reducing and even revoking defendants' sentences so as to boost the firm's reputation.

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