Henan official sets farmer’s trees on fire for fun

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 March, 2013, 6:23pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 March, 2013, 7:25pm

A Henan official set fire to a villager’s poplar trees, covering five acres of land, for his own amusement.

Two months ago a Huangchuan villager, surnamed Cai, found five acres of poplar trees destroyed in an arson attack by a local tax bureau official, but he has still not received any compensation, Dahe Daily reported on Wednesday.

The fire was started by the village tax bureau office director Zhang Hao on January 19. Cai said he saw Zhang deliberately start the fire and take photographs of the burning poplar trees, Cai told the newspaper.

As the fire grew, Zhang along with two men and a woman tried to leave the scene but they were stopped by Cai and other villagers who called the police, according to the newspaper.

During interrogation, Zhang admitted he started the fire so he could photograph it. He said he did it for his own amusement but that he did not expect the situation to get out of control, the Daily reported.

A Forestry Bureau officer overseeing the case said Zhang had not been compensated for the loss because both parties could not agree on how much land had been damaged during the fire due to a discrepancy between measurements taken at different times.

Cai has asked the bureau to measure the damaged area again. “It has been two months. Weeds are starting to grow, if this case continues to drag on, the damaged area will keep shrinking,” he said.

The officer responsible for the case told the Daily that the Forestry Bureau would measure the damaged area again in response to Cai’s request.