Developer, employees arrested in beating of homeowners' activist

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 July, 2007, 12:00am

A Guangzhou real estate developer and several of his employees have been arrested for beating a homeowner in January over plans to set up a residents' committee, mainland media have reported.

Haizhu district police detained Guangzhou Yinrui real estate company general manager Shi Heli and four employees in April over an attack on Liang Wenxiang, the owner of a property in a residential community developed by Yinrui, the New Express reported yesterday.

Shi's employees beat Mr Liang for more than 20 minutes, inflicting severe head injuries and breaking two of his ribs, said Li Gang, a friend of Mr Liang and fellow rights activist.

'He was working to establish an owners' committee to manage their property, which might hurt developer's interests,' Mr Li said.

The conflicting interests of developers and owners have been a major issue on the mainland in recent years, and dozens of owners have been assaulted trying to set up committees or vote out ones that developers appoint.

But the violence had rarely been reported by the media, Mr Li said.

'This might be the first time police have arrested the developer for his violence,' he said. 'In many other cases you only catch the hired hands. The rich can cover up everything on the mainland.'

He said the developer had offered Mr Liang 200,000 yuan to withdraw a complaint he made to police about the beating. 'Mr Liang refused and they started to threaten him, saying Liang's wife and child would not have any more 'good days' if he did not follow their suggestion.'

The Haizhu District Procuratorate said the police were dealing with the case.

Yinrui and its parent company, Guangzhou Yinye Development Corporation, declined comment.