NETHERLANDS

Chinese-Dutch girl killed after Facebook comments

Chinese-Dutch boy hired for €150 is jailed one year for murder and attempting to kill her father

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 September, 2012, 3:25am
AFP

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A Dutch court yesterday jailed a teenager for stabbing a 15-year-old girl to death and attempting to kill her father after she allegedly posted derogatory comments about another girl on Facebook.

The case involving three teenagers from the Chinese community in the Netherlands has shocked the country. The media dubbed the case the "Facebook murder".

Jing Hua K was jailed for a year and ordered to spend at least two years in a psychiatric facility to be "treated for his problems" after the January 14 murder in the eastern Dutch city of Arnhem.

Jing Hua was 14 at the time of killing and did not know the victim personally.

He carried out the attack after being offered €150 (HK$1,460) by two of his friends.

Prosecutors told the court the murder happened after Joyce Hau, known as Winsie to her friends, had a fight on the social networking site with a 16-year-old friend identified as Polly W and her 17-year-old boyfriend Wesley C.

Local media said Winsie allegedly gossiped about the sexual escapades of Polly, on Facebook and other social media.

Polly became so angry she and her boyfriend decided Winsie must pay for the insults. They hired Jing Hua to murder her.

During the case, witnesses testified that Jing Hua was promised €150 if he carried out the murder. The duo promised that they would pay for his drinks in future when he went out.

According to the Dutch justice ministry, they spent weeks planning the murder, communicating with the assassin on Facebook and by phone.

According to reports in Dutch media, Polly W and her boyfriend gave Jing Hua a note with the victim's address and let him know when she would be home.

Jing Hua went to Hau's house, saying he had something to give her. When she came to the door he repeatedly stabbed her with a knife and then attacked her father, scarring his face for life, the court heard.

The girl died in hospital five days later.

"The court is of the opinion the defendant deliberately killed" Hau, as well as attempted to murder her father, judges said in a verdict posted online.

"The defendant did not know Winsie personally but he acted at the request of or on the instructions of another or others."

Jing Hua, whose surname is not given under Dutch law, apologised to the court for his actions. He had argued that he had been put under pressure by the girl.

Some local reports said they told him that if he did not do it, they would kill him.

Court spokesman Jaap Otten said that the details of the Facebook comments could not be discussed pending the trial of Polly W and Wesley C, for which no date has yet been set.

"I am not happy with one year for my daughter's life," her father said outside the court. "But that's what the law book says.

"We were powerless and so were the authorities."

In a letter to the judge, Winsie's father wrote, "I ask myself every day how these people could have killed her just because of a dispute. I notice that children are becoming more and more violent. They're not respectful. They don't think about others. I hope that you, as judge, politicians, parents and our entire society will do something to stop this."

Social workers and the boy's lawyer had called for the case to be heard behind closed doors. However, a psychologist and a psychiatrist both told the court an open hearing would not be damaging to the boy.

Agence France-Presse, Reuters, Associated Press