Chinese driver who hit nine-year-old with car ‘killed her to avoid high compensation bill’
Suspect reported to have told police he murdered girl because he was worried about law that can order motorists to pay all victims’ medical costs
A driver in southern China has been accused of murdering a nine-year-old girl he hit with his car to avoid paying compensation, according to local media reports.
The girl’s father told Chutian Metropolis Daily, that his daughter, identified only by her surname Tao, had been reported missing from the village of Shaling in Hubei province on November 25.
The girl’s body was later found by police in a bush near where she lived.
A witness told the father that he saw a man putting a young girl in his white car and taking her away at noon.
The witness also provided information about the car’s type and where it was registered, since car licence plates begin with the province and city code in China.
A suspect, surnamed He, was arrested by police on November 27 and admitted the killing, Hebei Daily reported on Thursday.
The driver was reported to have said he accidentally hit the child while driving through the village and was afraid he would face high medical bills.
The newspaper also said he told police he had taken her to farmland where he killed her and then dumped the body.
Police said the case was under investigation.
According to mainland Chinese law, drivers who injure or kill people in car accidents are liable to pay compensation – as are those found guilty of intentional killing.
The amount can be negotiated with the victims of their families or decided by judges. However, deaths – whether accidental or deliberate – will only carry a one-off payment but cases involving serious injury could result in a lifetime of payments.
This has led to a number of cases where drivers have been accused of ensuring their victims were dead to avoid high compensation bills, although in some cases courts have accepted their argument that they did so accidentally.
In other cases the courts have found them guilty of murder. A university student was jailed for running over an elderly man in the western province of Gansu in November 2011.
Zhang Qingda, who was 26 at the time, initially told the police it had been an accident but he was jailed for 15 years for murder.
In other cases drivers have been reluctant to stop to help people injured in road accidents because they fear they will be held liable for compensation payments.
In one notorious case in Guangdong province in 2011 a two-year-old girl nicknamed Yue Yue died after she was run over by two separate vehicles, neither of which stopped, and she was then ignored by 18 passers-by before a road sweeper stopped to help her.