Six face charges of 'intentional injury' in death of watermelon vendor

Officials face criminal charges of 'intentional injury' as family is offered compensation

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 July, 2013, 6:30pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 January, 2018, 12:49pm

Six urban management officers from Hunan's Linwu county have been detained on criminal charges related to the beating death of a watermelon seller last week, according to state media.

The officers were sent to a detention centre in Chenzhou city for causing "intentional injury" to the street vendor Deng Zhengjia, 56, who died as a result of his injuries, Xinhua reported, citing officials from the Linwu county government.

Xinhua last night reported that the head of the county urban management bureau, Hu Chen, and his deputy Zou Hongwei, were sacked and put under investigation.

Deng's death during clashes with the unpopular urban management force, also known as the chengguan, prompted a large protest in Linwu last week, as well as a national public outcry.

Xinhua quoted the local government as saying that it would provide compensation of 897,000 yuan (HK$1.1 million) to the family. Deng's son, Deng Qingqiang, told The Beijing News that he was offered the amount but had not received the money yet.

The arrests came a day after a microblog user claiming to be Deng's daughter, Deng Yanlin, praised authorities for their "appropriate" response and said the family was satisfied.

"Now that my father has passed away and been buried, we don't want to be disturbed by the outside environment and we appreciate the appropriate disposal [of the issue] by the municipal and county governments," the post said.

The elder Deng and his wife reportedly clashed with urban management officers on Wednesday after the authorities attempted to fine the couple 100 yuan without issuing a citation. Xinhua has quoted Deng's niece as saying her uncle was struck in the head by a weight from a set of scales.

Hundreds of angry onlookers joined Deng's relatives and surrounded his body, refusing to leave the scene. The stand-off lasted until early Thursday morning and led to several confrontations between the police and public.

An autopsy was carried out on Thursday with Deng's family present. The results are expected within five days.

The incident has drawn wide attention on the mainland, where many have long complained about abuse at the hands of urban management officers, with several cases of injuries and deaths in recent years.

Deng Yanlin's post was reposted more than 150,000 times within the first 24 hours, with many internet users speculating that the local government had forced her to praise their response.