Police killer executed amid public sympathy

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 November, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 November, 2008, 12:00am

Yang Jia put to death for murdering six officers

Shanghai executed convicted police killer Yang Jia yesterday, five months after his attack on a district police station left six officers dead and four people wounded.

Despite the violent nature of the crime, Yang, 28, gained sympathy as a symbol of police brutality. The case also raised questions about the fairness of the mainland's legal system.

The death sentence was carried out by lethal injection yesterday morning after the Supreme People's Court, the mainland's highest court, gave its mandatory approval.

Yang's mental state was normal before his execution, and his last meal included rice porridge, China News Service said.

'The methods of his crime were especially ruthless, the circumstances particularly evil,' Xinhua quoted the Supreme Court as saying. 'The consequences and the crime were extremely serious, the damage to society exceedingly great. He should be punished according to the law.'

The death sentence was widely expected. On July 1, the jobless Beijing man threw a bomb at the entrance of the Zhabei District Police Station, stabbed a security guard and then stabbed nine police officers after entering the building.

He was originally sentenced to death by a Shanghai court in September, and his appeal last month was rejected.

Ji Jianqing, the Shanghai lawyer who handled the Supreme Court review for Yang, declined to comment.

Prosecutors said Yang wanted to take revenge after failing to receive compensation over his detention by police in October last year on suspicion of riding a stolen bicycle. He was later released. Yang also claimed he was beaten by police in detention, which authorities denied.

The judicial process was dogged by accusations of unfairness. Yang's original lawyer had previously represented Zhabei district, where the attack took place. Legal experts said the lawyer should have asked for a change of venue and more vigorously pursued the insanity defence.

Yang's mother disappeared shortly after the crime, though authorities said she had approved the appointed lawyer. She now says she was held against her will at a Beijing mental hospital run by police. She was only released on Sunday and visited her son at Shanghai's main prison, Tilanqiao, on Monday.

Yang's estranged father said he was in shock.

'I am dead to all feeling. I really don't know what to say,' Yang Fusheng said. The couple are divorced.

Liu Xiaoyuan, a Beijing lawyer representing Yang's mother in another case, questioned the fairness of the process.

'There are still some problems with the judgment. This will not only make people disappointed but also cause a very bad influence on society,' he said.