The Problem With Outsourcing Your Crimes

It’s a bad idea to murder someone, but if you’re going to do it, you may want to do it yourself. Businessman Tan Youhui (first from left) hired a hitman to take out his competitor, but the hitman hired another man to do the job, offering to pay him half of what he was offered to do the deed. That man hired another hitman, who hired another hitman, who hired another hitman. The saga of the subcontracted hitmen dates back to a professional dispute in 2013, when a man known simply as Wei took legal action against Tan's firm. Scared of losing money fighting a lengthy court case, Tan contracted hitman Xi Guangan and offered him $280,000 to kill Wei. Xi accepted the job, but shortly afterwards asked another hitman, Mo Tianxiang, to kill Wei instead, offering him $140,000. After Mo accepted, Xi renegotiated with Tan to be paid another $140,000 after the killing. However, Mo in turn contacted another man, Yang Kangsheng, who agreed to carry out the killing for an upfront fee of $190,000, with another $350,000 to be paid afterwards. Yang Kangsheng then offered another hitman, Yang Guangsheng, $140,000 to assassinate Wei, also with a bonus of $350,000 after completion. Finally, the chain came to an end when Yang Guangsheng offered a fifth hitman, Ling Xiansi, $70,000 to kill Wei. Instead of carrying out the murder, Ling met up with Wei and told him there was a hit on him and proposed a plan — that the two of them fake the murder. Wei agreed to be gagged and bound and pose for a photo that Ling could take back to Yang Guangsheng — before later reporting the case to the police. The case initially went to trial in 2016, but the six defendants were acquitted due to a lack of evidence. Prosecutors appealed against the decision and a second trial was held that lasted three years. Tan, who hired the original hitman, was sentenced to 5 years in prison, while the hitmen were all sentenced to 3½ years each, with Ling being sentenced to 2½ years for fraud.