'Suicide bomber' was an innocent victim
Police in Yunnan province yesterday admitted a man they said had triggered a bombing - and who local officials had painted as an extremist and a sociopath - was not to blame for the deadly blast, and issued an apology, Xinhua reported.
It said two men with grievances over land grabs had been arrested for masterminding the blast in Qiaojia county.
The announcements cast county officials in an extremely negative light. Three days after the blast in Baihetan township, local and state media quoted police chief Yang Chaobang as saying the bombing, at an office handling relocations, had nothing to do with land grabs. Yang also said he would stake his career on the man local officials blamed for the blast, Zhao Dengyong , being a suicide bomber.
Friends and relatives of Zhao, 26, had insisted since the blast in May that he was innocent. And the public was quick to call the official version of events into question, saying Zhao had been framed.
Now police in the city of Zhaotong , which oversees the county, say Zhao was an innocent victim of the May 10 explosion, which left him and three others dead and 16 people injured. New findings show he was tricked into carrying the bomb.
'We offer our sincere apology for releasing careless and inaccurate findings that had a negative impact on the public, Zhao Dengyong and his family,' police said.
In his comments reported three days after the blast, Yang had claimed 25 crime experts had conducted a thorough examination of the crime scene.
Yuan Yulai, a Zhejiang lawyer, said the county police chief should be held accountable for irresponsibly accusing an innocent man of being a killer.
Xinhua reported that it took authorities three months to reach their new conclusion, which was based on DNA tests and more careful examinations of fragments of an electrical board collected from the scene.
Police now say that Qiaojia residents Deng Deyong , 26, and 43-year-old Song Chaoyu paid Zhao 100 yuan (HK$122) to carry a black backpack into the community centre that was busy with residents dealing with relocation arrangements, according to the report.
Zhao did not know it contained a bomb, and the device was triggered remotely by cellphone. Police said the two suspects even set off a trial blast the day before in a remote countryside area.
The Xinhua report also appeared to confirm a previous claim, said to have been posted last month by the victim's brother, Zhao Dengxian , that Yunnan police were reluctant to release new findings that would exonerate his brother.
On Monday, having heard police were to announce new findings, Zhao Dengxian wrote on his microblog that justice had been served.