Leaders of Chinese money-laundering ring may be freed after judicial blunder

High Court frees top lieutenant of ringledader Gao Ping, who is expected to be released in coming days

The alleged ringleader of the money-laundering operation, Gao Ping.
The alleged ringleader of the money-laundering operation, Gao Ping. Alvaro Garcia (EL PAÍS)

A judicial error has led to the release from custody of one of the ringleaders of a Chinese money-laundering ring, which has been described by the authorities as the largest criminal venture of its kind broken up in Spain in recent years. The High Court upheld an appeal by lawyers acting for Kay Yang on the basis that he had been held for more than 72 hours without being brought before a judge. Yang is considered a top lieutenant of the organization's kingpin, Gao Ping.

Over 100 people were arrested in the police investigation against the ring on October 16. Two days later, the investigating judge ordered 29 suspects to be handed over to the police as "there are insufficient installations to hold them" at the courthouse. Among these was Yang, who did not appear before the judge until October 20, four days after his arrest. Yang was ordered to be remanded in custody but appealed as he had already been held for longer than the 72 hours permitted. The High Court on Thursday granted his immediate release.

Other members of the ring, including Gao, his wife, and the alleged head of his gang of enforcers, Li Haibo, are expected to be freed in the coming days after making similar appeals.

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