Hunan official 'hired bogus police officers to ransack offices of company involved in dispute'

Cultural services company says intruders were hired students

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 January, 2014, 12:16pm
UPDATED : Monday, 13 January, 2014, 2:24pm

More than 200 bogus police officers headed by a Hunan government official barged into a cultural services company at night and vandalised its offices after the company’s relationship with the local government soured over a joint cultural development project in the province, according to a Beijing newspaper.

A security guard on duty at the company on November 29 last year said the government official appeared at the doorway at 8.30pm with a legion of uniform-clad, truncheon-wielding “officers” wearing helmets with police badges and announced they had come to “enforce the law”.

The intruders then smashed furniture in the two-storey office and looted all artwork under the instruction of the official, the security guard told the Beijing Times.

Police officers called to the scene lashed out at the “officers” but appeared to have known about their plan, the newspaper reported.

“You said you wouldn’t do this tonight. I told you guys to wait for some more time or wait until tomorrow. You fooled me,” a police officer was heard saying in a recording provided by a staffer.

Many of the intruders snuck out after police had arrived, another staffer said. But company staff called police to the scene when they later found dozens more bogus officers hiding in a room.

“There is no need for us to come back, I know they are all students hired. There is no point arresting them. Tell them to take off the uniforms and put the helmets and truncheons in a pile, I’ll pick the stuff up tomorrow morning,” a person in charge of the company claimed a police officer said.

“I can see they are indeed students. One even folded his uniform before he left,” said a staffer.

The Beijing-headquartered company signed a joint venture agreement with the local government in the Tianxin district of the province’s capital city of Changsha in 2011 for the development of a cultural industries park in the district. But in 2012 the government shut the company out of the project following a leadership reshuffle, accusing it of having gone against the park’s marketisation strategies. The company by then had invested 50 million yuan.

The government and company sued each other in early last year in a case that is still ongoing.

The company has reported the incident to the province’s public security and discipline authorities, the newspaper reports.