US jails 2 for life over Chinese new year execution-style killing of businessman

Two men received mandatory life sentences on Wednesday in a murder-for-hire case in the heavily Chinese neighbourhood of Flushing, New York that involved professional jealousy, millions of dollars’ worth of property and an after-hours karaoke party.

Qing Ming Yu, who also used the name “Allen,” and Zhe Zhang, also known as “Zack,” were sentenced by US District Judge Carol Bagley Amon for their roles in the 2019 killing of Xin “Chris” Gu, 31.

Yu and Zhang were convicted in October last year of murder-for-hire and murder-for-hire conspiracy. Their lawyers were not immediately available for comment after Wednesday’s sentencing

“Allen Yu set out to kill Xin Gu because he started a rival business and Zhang agreed to carry out the execution-style murder without hesitation,” said Breon Peace, US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, where the case was heard.

“Driven by greed and revenge, they hired a hitman to commit a brutal murder of a young man, traumatising the victim’s family.”

According to prosecutors and court documents, Yu was president of Amaco, a multimillion-dollar property company that renovated flats in New York City. Gu joined the company in 2015 as a project manager.

Prosecutors said Gu grew increasingly concerned about Amaco’s financial viability and resigned in 2018 to start a competing firm called KG Management, luring several of Yu’s clients, including one with a US$1 million project to renovate 83 flats.

Angry over Gu’s perceived disloyalty, Yu hired his nephew You You to kill Gu, because he knew You had ties to criminals.

You hired Zhang, reportedly a marijuana dealer and Philadelphia real estate developer, who in turn hired Antony Abreu to pull the trigger while Zhang would act as getaway driver.

Two men have been jailed for life for their roles in the killing of businessman Chris Xin Gu, who was shot while waiting for an Uber after a Lunar New Year celebration in the heavily Chinese neighbourhood of Flushing, New York. Photo: NYPD

On February 11, 2019, Gu hosted a Lunar New Year dinner for more than 100 people at a restaurant in Flushing to celebrate his new company. After the meal, the party moved to a karaoke lounge, Grand Slam KTV.

According to court documents, the karaoke wrapped up at around 2.30am the next morning, when Gu called an Uber car service. As he waited, Abreu emerged from a vehicle, shot Gu several times fatally and fled in a car driven by Zhang.

Yu later paid You US$150,000 while US$30,000 was sent to a company registered to Zhang. Abreu received an expensive Richard Mille wristwatch for successfully carrying out the hit.

Prosecutors built their case on mobile phone, text records, witness testimony, surveillance video and cooperating testimony from You and one of his friends, gang member David “Potato” Yu.

Abreu was convicted of murder-for-hire and murder-for-hire conspiracy in a separate two-week trial in April 2024 and is awaiting sentencing.

At the time of his arrest, mastermind Yu owned at least four properties in the New York City area, including an eight-bedroom home in Oyster Bay with an estimated value of more than US$2 million.

Zhang was arrested in May 2022 in Arcadia, California, where he was renting a flat for US$9,000-a-month, while Abreu was a resident of the New York City borough of Queens, where Flushing is located.

At one point before Zhang’s conviction, the court denied a US$5 million bail request, citing his substantial ties and risk of flight to mainland China and Taiwan, as well as the “extremely serious” charges, his earlier threatening of a witness, and access to weapons.

“After securing Zhang and a hitman as accomplices to his calculated plot, the trio unjustly ended the life of a promising young businessman,” said James Smith, assistant director-in-charge in the FBI’s New York field office.

“Today’s lifelong sentences serve as a just punishment for two individuals who deemed cold-blooded murder as an acceptable response for slighted feelings.”



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