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CRIME

Modena: Chinese man stuffed in suitcase, ex-boyfriend suspected

Italian police were questioning five Chinese minors on Tuesday on suspicion of murder after a man was apparently suffocated by his teenage ex-boyfriend in a revenge attack.

Modena: Chinese man stuffed in suitcase, ex-boyfriend suspected
The city of Modena. Photo: vvoennyy/Depositphotos

The victim Hu Congliang, 20, is believed to have been dating one of the five in Modena, a city in northern Italy near Prato, where there is a very large Chinese community.

When the 17-year-old boyfriend tried to break up with him, Hu allegedly threatened to make public intimate photographs of the minor he had saved on his telephone.

“From what we understand so far, the punitive mission was prompted by the photographs,” deputy police chief Marcello Castello told the media.

“All five say they don't speak Italian, which we don't believe. They are all underage and have been utterly impassive. Just like their parents, who have been completely uncooperative,” he said.

The 17-year-old is believed to have summoned his gang to Hu's house on Sunday. There they ran into his mother and her partner, but went into the youth's bedroom to chat.

There they are believed to have smothered Hu with a pillow before emptying a suitcase found under the bed and stuffing his body inside. They then said goodbye to his mother, saying her son had left the house earlier.

She made the grisly discovery hours later, after her son failed to return and she noticed the suitcase out of place.

One of the five turned himself in to police voluntarily, the other four were arrested, one while playing video games.

“We have learned with pain and rage of the murder of young Leo and the terrible circumstances of his death,” Gabriele Piazzoni, national secretary of Arcigay, one of Italy's leading gay associations, said in a statement.

Coupling the Chinese murder with the recent suicide of an Italian youngster who feared sexual images of her would be made public, Piazzoni slammed “a culture that tarnishes sexuality and sexual orientation”.

“The issues of sexuality, sexual orientation and sexual practices are still taboo in our country… and yet it is this very stigma that hands violent people their lethal weapon,” he said.

MAFIA

Italian police seize €250 million and arrest 56 in latest mafia blitz

In its latest mafia sting, Italian police took down a large 'Ndrangheta ring in southern Calabria, placing 56 people under investigation including a regional councillor and a former head of the regional tourism board.

Italian police seize €250 million and arrest 56 in latest mafia blitz

The early-morning blitz by over 300 police focused on areas of Calabria – Italy’s poorest region – under the control of the Mancuso clan, a powerful branch of the infamous ‘Ndrangheta, many of whose top operatives are among hundreds of defendants in an ongoing ‘maxi-trial’.

Fifty-six people, many already in prison, were put under criminal investigation for a series of crimes including mafia-related conspiracy, extortion, kidnapping, bribery and possession of weapons, police and prosecutors said.

READ ALSO: ‘Ndrangheta: It’s time to bust some myths about the Calabrian mafia

Besides alleged mafia members, the operation also snared businessmen, a regional councillor released from prison days earlier, a former head of the regional tourism board and two civil servants, police said.

The incarcerated boss of the clan, Luigi Mancuso, also known as “The Supreme”, is the biggest mafioso in the massive mafia trial that started in January 2021.

Still, police said, his clan and affiliates, including the La Rosa and Accortini families, have continued to dominate illegal activities in the Vibo Valentia province, which is located right on the toe of Italy’s boot and is widely known as the ‘Coast of the Gods’ due to its stunning coastal views.

One mafia scheme involved the infiltration of a foreign tour operator in Pizzo Calabro, overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea.

No one talks

In Calabria, the extent of the ‘Ndrangheta’s reach in the local economy has made it near impossible to eradicate it.

By controlling the bulk of cocaine flowing into Europe, the ‘Ndrangheta has surpassed Sicily’s Cosa Nostra in power and wealth. It has extended far beyond its rural roots and now operates internationally, with illegal gains reinvested in the legitimate economy.

In the area around Vibo Valentia, extortion of local businesses and the fixing of public tenders is also common.

The allegations against those arrested Thursday include the transport and sale of stolen farm machinery to Malta and Romania, police said.

The sting carried out on Thursday extended to other parts of Calabria, Palermo in Sicily and as far as Rome and Milan, police said.

READ ALSO: Meet Nicola Gratteri, the prosecutor leading Italy’s battle against the mafia

In a press conference, anti-mafia prosecutor Nicola Gratteri, whose efforts to defeat the ‘Ndrangheta have forced him to live under police escort for over 30 years, called the group a “fierce mafia syndicate” controlling areas around the tourist resort of Tropea.

Francesco Messina, who leads Italy’s organised crime investigative unit (DAC), cited the economic power of the clan, which relies locally on “substantial” extortion activity.

The “total absence” of complaints to authorities was striking, Messina said, underscoring the ‘Ndrangheta’s power to intimidate.

By Alexandria Sage

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