Exterminating Banditry with Banditti
Cui Anqian was appointed as the governor of Xichuan in the Tang Dynasty. After his assumption of the office, he unexpectedly didn’t put his hand to the suppression of banditry. He responded: robbery would not sustain without harboring of and collusion with cahoots. Convinced with this, he ordered that some money from governmental source be posed in downtown places, with official notices reading: any informers or capturers of a robber to the authorities will be entitled to a reward as much as five hundred strings of coins (one string holding one thousand coins); for an accomplice who splits on his peers, he will be given the same reward as well as an exemption from legal accusation. Soon someone went to the office with a fellow robber caught. Feeling it unfair, the arrested one protested: we have been in collusion for seventeen years and we shared all the loots. How should he take me? Anqian contended: given you are also informed of the notice, why not take him here? So you deserve capital sentence and he the reward. Now that you were forestalled, how can you feel framed? He then saw to it that the promise be fulfilled in the very presence of the caught before he was beheaded in public. As a consequence, mutual suspicion haunted bandit gangs who, for depravation of reliable shelters, fled the territory of Xichuan where peaceful social order started to grow.