More held over reporter's death
More people have been arrested over the death of a reporter in Shanxi amid repeated denials from his newspaper that the journalist was trying to extort money from an unlicensed coal mine.
Shanxi police yesterday said they were still looking for three people suspected of involvement in the fatal beating of Lan Chengzhang , 35, at the mine in Datong's Hunyuan county on January 10.
Mine operator Hou Zhenrun , who turned himself in on Friday, is suspected of hiring eight thugs to beat up Lan, another reporter, Chang Hanwen , and a driver from the China Trade News' Shanxi bureau.
The province's website said another key suspect, Zheng Wenping , was arrested last Tuesday, while Zheng's father was arrested for hiding his son, it said.
According to the report, Lan told Chang on the way to the mine that 'if we get the mine owner in Hunyuan, and show them our permits, they will pay us at least 1,000 yuan'.
But Wang Jianfeng , assistant chief editor of the Beijing-based paper, yesterday denied suggestions that Lan's investigation into the mine was aimed at extorting money.
'Chang Hanwen denied that they were trying to blackmail the coal mine owners. He told us they got a tip-off that there was an accident at the colliery and a number of miners were killed. They went there to follow this lead,' Mr Wang said.
A source from the newspaper said the paper had been unable to contact Chang and was concerned about his safety. 'Chang called and said he was worried he would either be beaten or tortured to death [by Datong police],' he said.
Datong police were unavailable for comment yesterday.