Xinhua News Agency

Hostage drama sparked by toilet row

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 June, 2015, 4:12pm

A man who held a female deputy county chief hostage for nine hours on Tuesday in the eastern province of Zhejiang was unhappy that public toilets had been built in front of his home, state media reported.

The deputy chief was reportedly safe yesterday, but the status of the hostage-taker was unclear. He was also believed to be angry because he had been jailed in 2010 for petitioning against the public toilets.

The incident occurred in Yunhe county, Lishui, when Zhang Xiaowei, 44, held Li Yibo against her will on the fourth floor of a county government building.

A staff member with Fenghuangshan township, which oversees Hekeng where Zhang lives, said he had also lodged complaints about other issues. She did not know what they were.

Xinhua reported that Zhang was jailed for two years in January 2010, but was released in July last year. The People's Daily reported online that Zhang was jailed for insulting county officials during his petitioning over the toilets.

Zhang reportedly felt that his jail sentence was unjust.

The hostage situation occurred after a group of petitioners blocked Li's way into the government office courtyard, and then Zhang took her to the fourth floor.

One staff member said the government renovated the privately owned outdoor latrines in 2005, turning them into a row of public toilets in front of many homes, including Zhang's. She also said the government demolished the toilets during the stand-off.

Li was rescued late on Tuesday afternoon after police shot and wounded the suspect, who was being treated at Yunhe People's Hospital, Xinhua reports.

Li has been working in the county government for 10 years, and was promoted to vice-deputy chief in 2010.