Officer accused of hiring men to beat prosecutor

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 November, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 November, 2008, 12:00am

A senior police officer is accused of hiring gangsters to beat up a prosecutor after he reopened investigations this year into an eight-year-old case in which five subordinates were accused of torturing a murder suspect to death during questioning, a report said yesterday.

The Beijing News report came as the trial in Heilongjiang province of four of the suspects in the case entered its second day. Dozens of police officers were stationed outside the Qingan county court in Suihua to prevent residents and reporters witnessing it.

The case involves the death of farmer Li Fuxiang , who was detained on May 24, 2000, over a robbery-related murder, the online edition of the People's Daily reported. Li was shackled and repeatedly beaten with plastic and wooden batons to extract a confession. He was found dead early the next morning.

The online report said the policemen had faked Li's signature and told the victim's family that Li had died because of a long illness.

Li's family rejected the police explanation and began to appeal to higher authorities for help. The officers remained on the job until eight months ago, when Li's family reported the case to the county's new chief procurator, Zhao Degui .

Mr Zhao reopened the case, and four of the five police officers were arrested in May on charges of faking evidence and manslaughter. The fifth has fled.

The Beijing Times reported that Mr Zhao was attacked in the street three months later by two gangsters hired by Zhang Guangfu , the former deputy head of the Qingan Public Security Bureau and the five officers' supervisor.

The report said that before the attack Mr Zhao and his family had received anonymous threats.

Zhang was arrested last month over Li's death and will stand trial in a separate case. The report said Zhang had a close relationship with one of the five policemen, Zhu Songyan , and they both took bribes from a county sand-mining plant.

The cases add to the long list of allegations of police torture in recent years. In June last year, 40 police officers in Huazhou , Guangdong province, were punished for providing fake evidence to help two officers cover up the death of a suspect who was tortured.

In 2005, three police officers in Xuanwei , Yunnan province , were acquitted of torturing a man to death in a theft case.