Chinese gangster Cheng Youze looked a picture of content on his release from prison as he marched through a guard of honour made up of 120 burly men as 20 Land Rovers, 30 Mercedes and six Hummers waited to take the entourage to a huge party at a five star hotel.
But after pictures emerged online of his over-the-top homecoming, the seasoned criminal found himself back behind bars, as enraged authorities vowed to clampdown on the “rampant arrogance” of his gang.
It may have been Cheng’s third spell inside, but he was clearly keen to enjoy his latest ‘first’ taste of freedom following a seven year prison term in the northern Chinese city of Jincheng, a video released in Chinese media showed.
Images of hundreds of people attending a huge banquet for the 52-year-old at a nearby five star hotel went viral on Chinese social media.
“The party for Cheng’s release drew attention not only from the public but also from the authorities,” The Global Times newspaper said.
The banquet was staged after he strode confidently away from the prison gates, where a dozen armed prison officers stood side by side in guard.
With dark glasses, a white shirt and matching trousers, Cheng waved to dozens of gang members as tens of thousands of firecrackers were set off to ward off bad luck.
However, Cheng’s luck took a turn for the worse when three days later he was detained on charges of “disturbing social order”.
“The Public security bureau will comprehensively and deeply investigate the case. The rampant arrogance of criminals cannot be tolerated,” local police said.
Cheng’s wife was among another nine associates who had been arrested, according to local reports.
The mob boss had been put behind bars for robbery and gambling in 1984 and 2004, media said. Local criminals apparently helped him get him back on his feet each time he was released.