In the United States, it's actually kind of hard to get executed by the criminal justice system. First off, the death penalty isn't even legal in 19 states. Furthermore, in the states where it is legal, the death penalty is handed out as a form of punishment very rarely. And to top it all off, criminals who do actually receive the death penalty are more likely to die of natural causes long before their appeals run out. This is not the case in China. Even if you're really, really, really rich.
Earlier today, the Chinese government executed a man named Liu Han who was widely believed to be one of the richest criminals in the world.
Prior to his arrest and execution, Liu Han ran an empire called Sichuan Hanlong Mining Group. From the outside, his dealings may have looked liked a legitimate business operation. But, according to Chinese prosecutors, this legitimate mask was nothing more than a front for a violent and corrupt mafia with interests in a wide variety of criminal activities.
Liu Han was arrested last year along with 35 associates in what the state-run news agency described as the largest criminal gang prosecution in the history of mainland China. The organization profited off everything from illegal arms sales, drug running, murder-for-hire, bribery, espionage, stock manipulation, running illegal casinos, and loansharking. According to the South China Morning Post, the organization generated over $7 billion worth of illegal profits during its reign. When he was arrested, police discovered a cache of 20 guns, three hand grenades, 100 knives, 2,100 shotgun cartridges, and more than 600 bullets in his mansion.
As the gang's ringleader, Liu Han earned an enormous illicit fortune and was widely considered one of the richest criminals in the world. In 2012, a Chinese anti-corruption organization estimated his personal net worth to be at least $700 million. In 2012, he ranked #148 on a Forbes list of the richest people in China.
China isn't the only country that doesn't hesitate to execute someone just because he or she happens to be very wealthy. Last May, Iran executed a businessman named Mahafarid Amir Khosravi who just three years earlier was Iran's richest citizen with a net worth north of $1 billion.
Meanwhile in America, most millionaire and billionaire criminals are basically above the law. I guess that's a good thing if you're hoping to be super wealthy someday. And considering the fact that you're reading this website, that's probably a fair assumption! But hopefully when you do become a billionaire and are immune from the law, you will use your powers for good (and invite me over for mansion parties).