Hundreds of urban administrative chiefs vowed to do their jobs in a 'civilised manner' on Saturday, after a brutal attack by their underlings in Jiangsu province triggered another round of public outrage. Urban administrative officers, who police infringements of environmental, sanitation, urban planning and public facility maintenance laws, have come under fire in recent years after several incidents in which people have been beaten to death. The officials met in Liaocheng, Shandong, at the weekend for their second annual meeting to mark 2008 as an 'image construction year'. They also expressed 'shock and condemnation' about severe beating of two people in Nanjing , Jiangsu, by more than 10 officers last Wednesday. According to the Nanjing-based Modern Express, Zheng Yi and Wang Qi were dining in a restaurant when officers entered and asked the owner to move tables from the street indoors. Taken aback by the officers' rudeness, the two customers mocked them, saying: 'You're so great,' but with facial expressions that indicated their contempt. The officers were recorded on the restaurant's CCTV system attacking the pair, raining punches on their bodies and heads. The pair claimed officers then dragged them to a minibus and beat them for several more minutes. Zheng required three stitches to a head wound and was facially disfigured while Wang's right arm was broken. A police investigation is under way. People responded with thousands of internet chat room postings. 'Who gave them the right to treat human life as if it wasn't worth a straw? Why have there been so many cases like this? They must be punished,' one contributor said in a Tianya chat room posting. In January, Wei Wenhua, 41, a resident of Tianmen , Hubei , was beaten to death after officers spotted him filming a scuffle between them and farmers on his cellphone. The officers had tried to dump rubbish on disputed land and the farmers had objected. Twenty-four officers were detained. Urban administrative officers have seen their authority swell since 2002 when the State Council instructed local governments to concentrate the power of administrative punishment into one agency. The move was aimed at changing a situation where various departments could issue fines which had caused management problems. According to Xinhua, in Tianmen - as in many other cities - fines go straight into administrative officers' pockets. In the light of the concentration of power, a lack of supervision and the motivation for personal gain, irregularities do not surprise many. Last year, Tian Qiuke , a resident of Changsha , Hunan , died after being beaten by officers. In 2006, Shanghai resident Li Binghao was also beaten to death. In 2004, Guangzhou resident Li Yueming met the same fate.