Beijing airport explosion

Bomb went off 'by accident' at Beijing airport, petitioner says

Petioner Ji Zhongxing tells Beijing court the homemade explosive went off unintentionally as he was shifting it between hands

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 September, 2013, 4:33pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 September, 2013, 6:40am

A disabled migrant worker has told a Beijing court that a homemade bomb he brought to the Beijing Capital International Airport as part of a protest went off by accident.

Ji Zhongxing , a petitioner from Shandong province, made the claim during his 2-1/2-hour trial yesterday morning at the Chaoyang District People's Court, where he is being tried for endangering public security. He faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted.

Ji lost his left hand as a result of the explosion on July 20, and a police officer was slightly injured.

Ji, 34, told the court the bomb, comprised of black flammable powder, went off by accident as he was moving it from one hand to the other, China National Radio reported. A police officer had approached him to ask what he was doing, and he feared the device would be seized, he said.

He went to the airport to stage a protest as part of his lengthy campaign to win compensation over an alleged police assault eight years ago in Dongguan that he claims left him paralysed. He uses a wheelchair.

The incident in the international arrivals hall was caught on video, which was later posted online. "I yelled that I had a bomb, not because I wanted to threaten anyone. I was afraid of hurting someone," state radio quoted him as saying.

Ji expressed regret for his actions at the end of the trial and thanked the police officers who gave him emergency treatment after the explosion. The court did not reach a verdict yesterday.

Ji Zhongji, Ji's elder brother, said after attending the trial he had not seen his brother in months. "He is very thin, and I am deeply concerned about his health," he said.

"My brother made it quite clear in court that he had no intention of setting off the bomb. He has paid dearly for his mistakes and expressed his remorse. I hope the court can spare him from severe punishment."

Airports have become a hot spot for petitioners following the incident. A day after the blast, a Guangdong man was detained at the same airport for handing out pamphlets. On Saturday, an elderly woman from Hunan was detained, also at Beijing Capital, for setting off firecrackers. A n elderly man was held over the same thing yesterday at an airport in Wuhan in Hubei .

Prosecutors said the blast, whether intentional or not, had threatened public safety.

Ji previously wrote on his microblog that he was beaten and left paralysed by auxiliary police officers in Xintang village, Dongguan, in June 2005 during a shift as a motorcycle-taxi driver.

Ji filed a lawsuit against the village committee in 2007, seeking 340,000 yuan (HK$425,000) in compensation, according to the petition office in Dongguan. Two courts rejected it, but in 2010, the township police gave Ji 100,000 yuan.