Protest over mysterious death of hotel worker

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 January, 2007, 12:00am

16-year-old girl found dead after allegedly being drugged and raped

A policeman has been disciplined and a man detained after thousands of people massed outside a Sichuan hotel demanding justice for a young female staff member who died mysteriously in the hotel.

Police station director Xu Daxiang, whose son was the general manager of the Nest Business Hotel in Dazhu county, was placed under shuanggui, a Communist Party disciplinary procedure, and hotel barman Liu Chikun was held over the death of hotel worker Yang Daili, an official from Dazhu's Public Security Bureau said.

Yang, 16, had worked in the hotel for less than a month before she died on December 30.

Police said they could not disclose any details of the case, citing their continuing investigation, but Dazhu locals who claimed to work at the hotel wrote in internet postings that Yang had been sent to entertain three men outside the hotel and was raped after drinking drugged wine. She was later found close to death at the hotel.

Her family members and several hundred sympathisers have gathered outside the hotel since Monday demanding a quick investigation into Yang's death, the official said. He said a small number of people broke into the hotel, smashed fittings and tried to burn the building down on Wednesday afternoon, attracting several thousand bystanders

'I think around 4,000 people gathered in the square where the hotel was located. We sent policemen, armed police and firemen to put out the fire and maintain order,' the official said.

'We had traffic controls in place and blocked several roads because so many people were in the square,' he said, denying reports martial law had been imposed.

The official admitted there had been conflicts between people in the crowd and police, but stressed that no ordinary citizens were injured. 'As far as I know, only policemen were injured when they tried to stop people breaking things in the hotel,' he said.

The official said the fire was put out and people were advised to leave the square after 10pm.

Yang's father, Yang Wanguo , told the Southern Metropolis News that mystery surrounded the death of his daughter and he was confused by conflicting reports.

'The hospital gave me a report saying she died before being sent to the hospital. The county Public Security Bureau did an autopsy, but didn't show me the report. They said she had four needle holes in her arm,' the newspaper quoted Mr Yang as saying.

'The county government told me my daughter had been raped, but I wasn't shown the report. The next day, the provincial judicial department did another autopsy and said the needle holes were fake. I am confused.'

He said his daughter had meant to quit after receiving last month's wages because 'many people were using drugs in the hotel'.