Migrant escapes death penalty over killings

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 November, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 November, 2009, 12:00am

A migrant worker in Guangdong was given a suspended death sentence on Monday for killing two of his bosses and seriously injuring another, local media reported.

Liu Hanhuang, 26, a factory worker in Dongguan, quarrelled with three deputy general managers, all Taiwanese, over a workplace injury in which he lost his right hand.

Liu stabbed the men when compensation negotiations broke down. Lin Yu-teng and Shao Cheng-chi died of their wounds, and Lai Chen-jui was seriously injured.

Dongguan Intermediate Court sentenced Liu to death with a two-year suspension and awarded compensation totalling 1.2 million yuan (HK$1.36 million) to the dead victims' families, the Guangzhou Daily reported, saying its judgment was lenient because Liu had lost his hand.

Liu said the sentence was too severe and he would appeal.

Judge Zhang Hailiang was quoted by the newspaper as saying 'Liu's case brought me emotional trauma' while reviewing it.

As a migrant worker from Guizhou, Liu joined the Taiwanese-invested Zhanming Hardware Products on September 22 last year, hoping to improve his family's finances. The accident during which his hand was severed happened on his sixth day on the job.

Liu and management could not reach an agreement over compensation. So early this year, Liu sued the company and was awarded 170,000 yuan (HK$192,950) by the court. But the company refused to pay Liu, so he intercepted Lai at the main gate. The two had a fierce quarrel into which Lin and Shao were drawn.

During the argument, Liu pulled out a knife and stabbed them.

The murder was the first in the city relating to a labour dispute involving a Taiwanese-invested business.

The Taiwanese-based Straits Exchange Foundation later sent a letter to the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits asking for its assistance in dealing with the case.