Anger at official corruption and frustration at a rampant drugs trade are fuelling the Shishou residents who have blocked police from entering a hotel to retrieve the body of a young man who died in mysterious circumstances, demonstrators say. Residents are refusing to accept the police's assertion that Tu Yuangao, a 24-year-old who worked as a chef at the hotel in Hubei, killed himself. Police say they found a suicide note in his room. One resident said the hotel was notorious for a string of suspicious deaths in the past 10 years. It was an open secret drugs were sold out of the hotel, he said. Most residents believed that Tu was killed after he threatened to disclose the drug deals carried out by the hotel owner when he demanded overdue pay, he said. 'We did not find bloodstains on the ground. But we could see black blood from his eyes, nose, mouth and ears,' he said. Residents say the body of a girl was found outside the hotel two years ago under similar circumstances and the hotel allegedly paid her relatives 30,000 yuan (HK$34,000) to keep them silent. Tu's body was found outside the hotel and his father took it into the hotel lobby on Wednesday. Temperatures there often topped 30 degree Celsius. An internet posting, apparently by a Shishou resident, said police promised to pay 30,000 to 50,000 yuan if Tu's father agreed to cremate the body, but he refused. Residents said the police had made four or five attempts to seize the body in the past three days but were stopped by the thousands of protesters outside the hotel. Internet postings said the crowd threw bricks, beer bottles and stones when officers approached. Protesters had also set up barricades at the intersections of major roads. Photographs were circulating on the internet, showing the wounds to Tu's body and the father lying beside it, although many of the postings were censored. Some postings said internet bars and hotels in the city had experienced blackouts, which some netizens attributed to an attempt by local cadres to stop information from getting out. Nevertheless, some pictures and video clips have been posted online. In one video clip, riot police in helmets and batons can be seen dispersing the crowd as they marched through the street. One witness said residents were raising funds to buy a refrigerator to store the body after a local mortuary turned down the father's request to transfer the body. Residents said they believed the police had insisted on a quick cremation to destroy evidence of a murder. A government statement said police intended to take the body for an autopsy. A businessman who runs a shop near the hotel said protesters were only targeting the hotel, and shops nearby were not affected. 'We know very well about the illegal drug trade inside the hotel. We all know that officials from the police, electricity bureau and the judiciary department are shareholders of the hotel,' he said. 'We are angry because the drug problem is so serious in Shishou and this hotel should be blamed for it. The demonstrators are peaceful and rational.' He said residents had learned a lesson from last year's riot in Wengan county, Guizhou when some 30,000 residents took to the streets to protest against the mysterious death of a 16-year-old girl. 'We are more willing to stand up for our rights since the Wengan riot. Officials can no longer ask us to keep quiet by paying a few hundred thousand yuan.'