Reluctant hitmen jailed over botched murder
Six men in China have been jailed for attempted murder after they all tried to pass on a contract to kill which they were reluctant to carry out in person.
Businessman Qin Youhui began the saga in 2013 when he hired a contract killer to eliminate a rival, Mr Wei, who was suing him at the time.
The hitman pocketed half of the two million yuan (€254,000) that Qin paid out and then passed the task to another assassin at a reduced price.
The killing was then contracted out three more times until a fifth man entered the picture, Ling Xinsi. By then, it was 2014, and the original pot of money had dwindled and Xinsi was offered just 100,000 yuan (€13,000) to carry out the hit. Ling decided it wasn't enough, so he sent a note to the target, Mr Wei, asking to meet.
The pair ended up in a coffee shop together, where Ling told Mr Wei, "For just 100,000 yuan, I don't want to kill you, but you have to co-operate with me."
The two men staged Mr Wei's death, sending photos of the faked murder scene along as proof the job was finished. But in yet another twist, Mr Wei later reported the entire incident to police in Nanning.
At first Qin and the five contract killers were acquitted, which is extremely unusual in a country with a 99.9pc conviction rate.
However, prosecutors appealed, and last week a court handed down prison sentences ranging from two years and seven months to five years.