More cases of gang crimes reported in Tangshan following barbecue restaurant violence
Published: Jun 12, 2022 08:09 PM Updated: Jun 12, 2022 08:06 PM
Photo: Screenshot from Sina Weibo
Photo: Screenshot from Sina Weibo

More residents reported about organized criminal gangs and their crimes in Tangshan, North China’s Hebei Province, over the weekend, after the harassing and beating incident at a local barbecue restaurant triggered public outcry for the rule of law and justice.

Holding her identification information in her hand, a woman surnamed Zhang said in a video clip released on Saturday about her suffering of being harassed, beaten, abused, threatened, intimidated and unlawfully detained between May 23 and 24 by a criminal gang in Lubei district in Tangshan, the city once known for a deadly 7.8-magnitude earthquake in 1976 which claimed the lives of more than 240,000 people.

According to Zhang, she, a resident singer of a bar, along with another five employees from the local bar, was cheated by their employer related to a criminal gang to the bar in Lubei district around 4 pm on May 23. They were beaten and forced to write IOUs by the gang during a 16-hour period.

Zhang said that she managed to escape from detention around 2 am on May 24 and reported the case to the local police. However, police were only dispatched to the scene hours later at around 7 am when they finished their inquiries with her. The police only brought back her personal items from the bar but did not find her other colleagues who were detained.

Another owner of the bar brought her colleagues to the police station after she protested. However, the criminal gang related to the bar was not dealt with by the police, she said.

According to media reports, the bar was just registered in April. The operator of the bar surnamed Yang only has one bar.

Prior to Zhang, a cake shop owner from Tangshan also exposed with his real name online on Friday a criminal gang allegedly made up of personnel released after serving their prison sentences. The cake shop owner said he had to close off his shop after the gang exerted extortion and violence since July in 2021.

Authorities in Tangshan replied on Saturday that they had launched an investigation into the cake shop incident and would respond to public concerns in time.

Apart from these two victims, dozens of people across the nation exposed a female fraud suspect named Xu Min from Tangshan in a video over the weekend, saying she swindled them out of jade worth tens of millions of yuan after the city hit top trending topic on social media following the barbecue restaurant and bar detention incidents.

As of Sunday, all the nine suspects involved in barbecue restaurant violence have been arrested.

The series of recent grievous incidents hit a raw nerve of the public when they happened against the background of a national campaign of cracking down on gang crimes. Many people questioned why the law lost its deterrent in Tangshan.

Considering that the city had hit top trending topic on social media for three times over a course a bit longer than a month, including two other absurd incidents in April and May when a farmer was forced to exert self-criticism for working in his own farm that went against local epidemic prevention protocol, and residents in Qian’an of Tangshan were locked in their homes with their keys handed over for the epidemic prevention and control, netizens demand a thorough investigation into the criminal gangs in the city.

A commentary published by Guangming Daily said that these social events indicated the failure of social governance due to the loss of deterrent laws and the slow and difficult development of the rule of law. The damage it has caused on justice and public policy sounded an alert to policymakers.

Global Times