A female farmer was crushed to death by a cement delivery tanker on Saturday in Hubei during a housing compensation dispute between local villagers and construction workers, Chinese media reported.
Police officials have detained a man surnamed Tan on suspicion of deliberately murdering the farmer, The Beijing News said on Monday.
The dead farmer, Zhang Ruqiong, 44, was reportedly trying to stop the vehicle from entering a highway construction site at the time of her death.
“After one of the staff pushed my wife to the ground behind the tanker, the construction director entered the vehicle, turned on the engine and drove it backwards, crushing my wife before fleeing the scene,” the victim’s husband Li Zongxing told the newspaper.
An official statement published on a local government website said Tan was detained by police early on Sunday morning. Officials were still investigating the case, it said.
The longstanding dispute between the construction company and the Yanduhe villagers erupted three years ago according to local residents.
The construction team blocked a sluice gate, which caused floods that destroyed several houses, the newspaper quoted villagers as saying. The villagers also claimed that blast waves from explosions carried out by the construction team damaged houses, causing some to collapse.
“Not only houses, crops and farmlands were also destroyed, but the government and the construction company kept shifting responsibility to each other,” a villager told the newspaper, adding that promises to rectify the situation were not kept.
Yanduhe government spokesperson Chen Xingjie acknowledged floods had damaged villagers’ houses but denied claims that villagers were not compensated, The Beijing News reported. He said the government had already provided compensation in 2010 and would offer further compensation in accordance with relevant government provisions after the completion of the construction project.
On March 27, a Henan farmer was crushed dead by a developer’s forklift truck during an alleged land grab. After forensic reports showed the victim was drunk at the time of the incident, the construction company reached an agreement for compensation with the victim’s family, media reported on Monday.