Policeman's family says his killer should die

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 April, 2006, 12:00am

The family of a Beijing police officer beaten to death last year in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, yesterday said they will appeal against a suspended death sentence handed to the Shanxi police officer who orchestrated the attack.

The Intermediate People's Court in Taiyuan yesterday handed down the suspended sentence to Liu Limin for organising eight local thugs to beat up Li Zhongyi on May 3, after the two quarrelled over a traffic dispute.

Neither officer was in uniform at the time of the quarrel, nor did they show their police identification. Liu reportedly felt humiliated by the argument and followed his Beijing counterpart to a hotel where he and his family were holidaying.

Liu and his accomplices used wooden sticks and aluminium pipes to beat up Li in a hotel car park and the Beijing officer later died in hospital from brain damage.

Suspended death sentences are usually commuted to life in prison, and the court said it issued a suspended sentence because Liu confessed to police and his family gave Li's wife 50,000 yuan in compensation before the case went to court.

The Beijing officer's wife, Zhao Yang, said the sentence was too light. She said the court had no excuse for leniency because Liu did not surrender to police after the murder and the compensation was not grounds for reducing punishment.

'I will definitely appeal to a higher court,' Ms Zhao told the China News Service.

The Taiyuan court handed down a death sentence to one of the thugs it said directly caused Li's death, Zhou Chuanquan. The other seven people who carried out the attack were ordered to serve nine to 15 years in prison.

The case attracted nationwide attention because many saw it as an example of police brutality and collusion with gangsters.