Police under fire for killing siege man as he surrendered

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 September, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 September, 2004, 12:00am

Critics say the shooting of the suspect by Gansu officers was incomprehensible

Police in Lanzhou , Gansu province , have been criticised for gunning down a suspect at the end of a nine-hour siege even though the man had agreed to give himself up.

The siege began at 7am on Sunday when the man, surnamed Jiang, arrived at a residential block in Lanzhou.

He demanded the repayment of a 300,000-yuan loan he claimed was owed to him by a resident, Zhang Fenglin , according to the Lanzhou Morning Post in Gansu province.

As soon as he entered Mr Zhang's flat, Jiang, who was in his 60s, took out a packet of what he claimed to be explosives and threatened to kill himself together with Mr Zhang and his wife if he did not get his money back immediately.

Mr Zhang then sent his wife out to try to get the money.

After she left the building she called the police.

Lanzhou police chiefs then deployed dozens of officers to surround the building, which houses the provincial office of the Federation of Literary and Art Circles.

Leaders of the city's public security bureau were also present to direct the operation.

After several rounds of negotiations and the repayment of 30,000 yuan by the Zhangs, the suspect agreed to leave the flat at 4pm.

Instead of putting Jiang under arrest, police suddenly opened fire, hitting him in the head and right arm and killing him instantly.

During their nine-hour ordeal, 48 households in the building were evacuated while police tried to negotiate with the man.

Shi Wenyan , a retired professor at the Northwest Politics and Law Academy, called the action by the police officers 'not comprehensible' and inappropriate.

'Jiang had taken an inappropriate action in debt collection, but the situation had eased after he agreed to leave room 503 [of the building] with 30,000 yuan,' Profession Shi said. 'It was obviously inappropriate for the police to fire at his critical spots.'

Profession Shi said he had offered to provide free legal services to Jiang's family.

A Shaanxi lawyer, Wang Wu-sheng , described the action taken by the police officers as irresponsible.