São Paulo Diary: The Law King Gets Out of Jail

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The Law King: Found guilty of making a R$1.5 million indecent proposal to the president of a parliamentary probe of pirated goods. Got generous amounts of time off for good behavior. 

[The “King of the 25 de Março”] was arrested in June 2004 after being filmed trying to bribe former federal lawmaker de Medeiros into keeping his name out of the report of a congressional probe into “pirated” products.

Juiz revoga prisão do ‘maior contrabandista do País’: Solange Spigliatti of the Estado de S. Paulo’s metro desk reports.

Besides the economy section, I always turn straightaway to the Metrópole section of the Estadão these days to see what it is up to in the way of local coverage.

The section seems to be in capable hands, in terms of its design and beat coverage, but has gotten notably thin of late.

Its coverage of the assassination of a police district commander, for example, seems to have petered out after the state military police insisted that the assassination of a senior commander who initiated disciplinary action against subordinates suspected of participating in death squads for rent was not a sign that the force has an insubordination (or death-squad) problem.

This despite the fact that the weapon used to whack the colonel was reportedly tied directly by ballistics tests to death squad-style murders. See also

The reporting by Marcelo Godoy and team seemed pretty solid to me. I am scanning the paper for follow-ups on a daily basis. Like the reportagem local of the Folha de S. Paulo, some of the Estadão‘s best journalism comes from meat and potatoes local coverage. Which is why it is disheartening to see that section — consumer complaints, fire, police, water, sewer, gas, (lack of) urban planning and traffic, basically — shrink rather than expand.

It is not like there is not a lot of extremely interesting stuff to cover under those very basic beats. This city is something else, in both good and bad ways. It somehow manages not to collapse completely, despite everything, but you are constantly on the edge of your seat.

On the moral panic over the most recent arrest of the Law Kin(g), “king of the 25 de Março” — São Paulo’s vast, cheerful and bustling Sino-Paraguayan bazaar — see also

The man’s has now appeared in the same paper spelled Law Kim, Law Kin, and Law King.

SÃO PAULO – Depois de passar quatro meses preso, o maior contrabandista do País, o chinês naturalizado Law Kim Chong, deve sair no domingo, 16, da Penitenciária Dr. José Augusto Salgado – Tremembé II, no Vale do Paraíba. Inicialmente, havia a informação de que o contrabandista seria solto neste sábado, 15, porém, por falta de documentação, a libertação foi adiada.

After spending four months in jail, Brazil’s biggest smuggler, the China-born naturalized Brazilian Law Kim Chong, is due to be released on Sunday from the Tremembé II unit of the Salgado Penitenciary in the Vale do Paraíba. Initial reports were that the smuggler would be released on Saturday, but the release was delayed for lack of documentation.

O juiz Alexandre Cassetari determinou a soltura do ‘rei da 25 de Março’ por considerar que a prisão cautelar concedida contra ele já havia vencido e nenhuma outra instância da Polícia Federal, responsável pela prisão do contrabandista, havia solicitado a permanência dele na cadeia.

Judge Cassetari ordered the release of the “King of the 25 de Março” after finding that the preventive custody order had expired and that no other request existed from the federal police, which arrested the smuggler, had requested he continue in custody.

Not “alleged smuggler” because he was found guilty and sentenced on smuggling and racketeering charges a few years ago.

While serving his sentence under house arrest, he started a couple of new shopping malls in the 25 de Março area, downtown, the Estadão has reported as well.

De acordo com o advogado Miguel Pereira Neto, o juiz entendeu, em princípio, que a prisão cautelar se tornou ilegal, já que o prazo da prisão cautelar venceu há 101 dias. Acusado pela PF de ser o maior contrabandista do País, Law foi detido acusado por contrabando e descaminho. De acordo com a SAP, a secretaria está tomando as providências necessárias para a liberação, como checagem dos inquéritos e processos do detido. A soltura só poderá ocorrer após essa checagem, que fica uma pouco mais demorada do que o de costume por ser um sábado, de acordo com a SAP.

Attorney Pereira said the judge found that the imprisonment had become illegal, in principle, given that the preventive custody order expired 101 days ago. Accused by the federal police of being Brazil’s biggest smuggler, Law was arrested on charges of smuggling and [diversion of goods for the purpose of evading taxes and duties, I think.] According to the state prison authority, it is taking the necessary steps to process the release, such as checking on other warrants and charges against the prisoner. He can only be released after this check, which takes a little more time than normal because it is a Saturday, the SAP says.   

There was some sort of murky incident in which the man was allowed to go see his ailing father in the hospital under a heavy police escort. The order for the visit reportedly did not come from the judge, but in a fax from military police headquarters.

A local TV crew, as I remember, caught the guy being smuggled out the back door by his escort into a fire brigade ambulance (the fire brigade is part of the same chain of command, as it were.) What was that all about, anyway?

‘Rei da 25’

King of the 25 

Condenado por corrupção, o “rei da 25 de Março” ainda responde na Justiça a dois processos por contrabando e formação de quadrilha. Law foi preso em junho de 2004, depois de ser filmado tentando subornar o ex-deputado Luiz Antonio de Medeiros para que seu nome não fosse incluído no relatório da Comissão Parlamentar de Inquérito (CPI) da Pirataria.

Found guilty of corruption, the “King of the 25 de Março” is a defendant in two other criminal conspiracy and smuggling cases at the moment. He was arrested in June 2004 after being filmed trying to bribe former federal lawmaker de Medeiros into keeping his name out of the report of a congressional probe into “pirated” products.

Ele esteve detido em Brasília, em Guarulhos e no Instituto Agrícola de Bauru, no interior paulista. Foi colocado em liberdade em junho pelo juiz Enio Moz Godoy, da 2ª Vara de Execuções Criminais de Bauru, para cumprir pena em regime aberto.

He was imprisoned in Brasília, Guarulhos (metro São Paulo area) and at the Bauru Agricultural Institute in  Bauru. He was freed in June by Judge Moz Godoy in Bauru to complete his sentence [in parole-like conditions.]

Em novembro do ano passado, durante blitz nas obras do Shopping Pari, na zona leste de São Paulo, o prefeito de São Paulo, Gilberto Kassab, chamou de bandido o empresário chinês naturalizado brasileiro. “Enquanto eu for prefeito, isso aqui não abre. São Paulo quer aqui pessoas que paguem impostos e trabalhem sério. O senhor Law é um bandido, criminoso e merece ser preso”, disse Kassab. Logo após a blitz, que apreendeu produtos falsificados e contrabandeados, a PF autuou o empresário em flagrante.

In November 2007, during a police “blitz” of the construction site of the Pari shopping mall in the eastern district of São Paulo, Mayor Kassab called the China-born Brazilian businessman a “bandit.” “While I am mayor, this here is not going to stand. São Paulo wants people here who work hard and pay taxes. Mr. Law is a bandit, a criminal and deserves to be in jail,” the mayor said. Immediately after the blitz, which seized phony and smuggled goods, the feds arrested the man in flagrante delicto.   


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