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A Chinese businessman hired a hitman, who hired a hitman, who hired a hitman, who hired a hitman, who hired a hitman, court documents say. Now they have all been sentenced to prison.

A web of hitmen in China were charged with intentional homicide after trying to outsource a contracted murder five times.

The five hitmen and the businessman who accused of originally contracting the murder were sentenced to time in prison on October 17 at the Nanning Intermediate People’s Court in China’s southern Guangxi province.

The court alleges that in October 2013 the real-estate developer Tan Youhui hired the first hitman, Xi Guangan, to take out his competitor, Wei Mou. The court statement says the businessman offered the hitman 2 million Chinese yuan, or $US282,600 in today’s dollars, for the job.

Xi Guangan took the money and contracted a second hitman, Mo Tianxiang, paying him 1 million yuan to kill Wei, the court says.

The court says the second hitman then hired another hitman, Yang Kangsheng, paying him 270,000 yuan up front and an additional 500,000 yuan when the deed was done.

Yang Kangsheng is accused of offering a similar deal to a fourth hitman, Yang Guasheng, paying him 200,000 yuan up front and an additional 500,000 yuan after the job was complete.

The fourth hitman hired the fifth – and final – hitman, Ling Xiansi, who agreed to do the job for 100,000 yuan, according to the reports. But instead of going through with the murder, Ling met with Wei and told him about the target on his back, offering the opportunity to fake Wei’s death rather than actually killing him.

The fifth hitman helped Wei stage his death. Wei was bound and gagged in photos, and Ling sent the photos to his employer. The news travelled up the chain of subcontractors up to the original client, Tan.

After the photos of Wei were taken, however, the police were notified, according to ABC.

Tan was sentenced to five years in prison, while the five hitmen were sentenced between two and four years of prison time,

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