Four killed in row over village election

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 June, 2007, 12:00am

Mainland police have issued a warrant for the arrest of a former Hebei village official who allegedly shot four fellow villagers to death with a hunting rifle last week in an apparent act of politically motivated revenge.

According to a notice posted on the Ministry of Public Security's website, the warrant states that Ning Yongfeng , 42, is suspected of shooting the victims in Langfang's Jiuzhou village around 11pm on Saturday.

The ministry is offering a 50,000 yuan reward for any information leading to Ning's arrest.

Langfang police said last night that Ning, who was Jiuzhou's party committee director until March, was still on the run. They refused to give further details.

Villagers said the shootings were related to the village party committee election because two of the victims, Wang Hanzhong and Li Aijun , had just been elected committee members, according to the Beijing News. The poll results were announced on the day of the shootings.

Ning was removed from his position as party committee director earlier this year after complaints were filed against him, the newspaper said.

It was unclear what the complaints were about, but the report said some villagers told township authorities last year that Ning had attacked other people with a knife. Ning was also accused of corruption and illegally keep a gun.

The victims were having dinner in a restaurant before they were killed. Their bodies were found near the restaurant.

'I saw it. Ning Yongfeng shot at my father with the gun,' Fan Xiaorui , the 15-year-old son of victim Fan Shangzeng , told the newspaper. The fourth victim was Li Honghai.

Wang Hanzhong's wife, Lai Xiuling, told the newspaper that a party committee election held last year was tainted because some hired thugs were sent to the polling station.