Security firm chiefs held over petitioners
Two managers of a Beijing security firm that won awards for its contribution to the 2008 Olympics have been detained for allegedly jailing petitioners illegally under deals struck with local governments through their liaison offices in the capital city.
The Southern Metropolis Daily said Beijing Anyuanding Security chairman Zhang Jun and general manager Zhang Jie were detained by the Beijing Public Security Bureau and the company was being investigated for 'illegal jailing and illegal business operations'.
This followed a report by the daily on Thursday that found Anyuanding had kept hundreds of petitioners in 'undercover prisons' in the capital, beating up those who challenged its actions. Petitioners arriving in Beijing were escorted back home at the order of local governments' liaison offices in the capital, the paper said.
These liaison offices in Beijing were reported to have paid Anyuanding 200 (HK$230) to 300 yuan a day per head for each detention, and in some cases tens of thousands of yuan for returning petitioners by car.
An Anyuanding employee refused to comment yesterday.
One petitioner, Zhang Yaochun , a former policewoman in Hepu county, Guangxi , said she was detained and sent home by Anyuanding twice, in December last year and in May. She had gone to Beijing to complain about her dismissal in 2000 by the local public security bureau after she raised the alarm about chaotic gun management.
Zhang said that in December she received a call from an official at the Guangxi government's Beijing liaison office to meet there. But she was caught and put in a minivan bearing the characters 'Anyuanding Escort'.
Zhang was taken to a warehouse in a southern suburb of Beijing where more than 200 people were squeezed into a dirty, unheated two-storey building.
She said all her belongings were seized. When she asked a security guard where she was, he hit her on the head and kicked her.
Zhang said she saw officials from the petition department of her hometown hand cash to security guards, who sent her and another petitioner back home. On the two-day car journey the two petitioners were denied water.
Another petitioner, Dai Yuequan from Chongqing , was detained three times from 2007 to 2009, 16 days in total, by the security company. He was beaten up twice and all his petition materials and legal documents were confiscated.
Founded in 2004, Anyuanding's revenue increased from 8.6 million yuan in 2007 to 21 million in 2008, when the company established a department to help local governments house and dispatch petitioners.
Zhu Weijiu , from the China University of Political Science and Law, said it was common to see petitioners in Beijing rounded up by local governments. Previously local governments ordered the local police to catch petitioners, while some hired security companies.
Against his will
The total number of days Chongqing petitioner Dai Yuequan was detained: 16