Victims in Tangshan beat-up incident improving from injuries; police officers investigated over handling of case
Published: Jun 21, 2022 02:50 PM Updated: Jun 21, 2022 02:46 PM
Photo: screenshot from Sina Weibo
Photo: screenshot from Sina Weibo

The four victims in a harassing and beating incident at a barbecue restaurant in Tangshan, North China's Hebei Province, were respectivelyidentified as mild or minor injuries of class II, according to a newly released statement by Hebei provincial public security department on Tuesday.

The phased investigation also revealed a slew of illegal behaviors and crimes committed by one of the main suspects, Chen Jizhi, namely, illegal gambling, illegal detainment of others, provoking trouble and affray. Officials are still investigating whether relevant suspects were involved in any organized gang crime.

Police officers involved in the handling of the restaurant incident were investigated for their slow response and improper procedure and other acts. The case had resulted in five police officers being investigated for discipline inspection and supervision and the dismissal of the deputy head of the public security bureau of Lubei district in Tangshan, the statement said.

After the incident - referred by police as "provoking troubles and violent beat-up" - occurred on June 10 midnight, it sparked outrage on Chinese social media platforms with a focus on the protection of women and safeguarding public security. The public has been calling on thorough investigation and strict punishment for the perpetrators.

Among the four female victims, the statement, quoting a judicial evaluation conclusion by the Academy of Forensic Science, said injuries on the 24-year-old woman surnamed Yuan and 29-year-old surnamed Li were recognized asslight bodily injury.They left the hospital after medical inspection on the day of the incident.

Injuries on victims surnamed Wang (31) and Liu (29) were recognized by the judicial evaluation asthe minor injuries of class II. The two have been receiving medical treatment in the ordinary ward and their conditions have improved.

The Global Times found that secondary wound refers to injuries that do not endanger life, but that cause minor damage to the structure or function of tissues or organs or victims' appearance, such as fractured ribs, eyeball penetration and rupture.

Nine suspects - seven men and two women - involved in the harassing and beating incident were approved to be arrested by the local procuratorate authorities on June 12.

The official statement also highlighted a slew of clues of illegal behaviors and crimes that Chen, the 41-year-old, and other suspects have committed. Relevant suspects have all been detained.

On December 12, 2015, Chen, with the excuse of recovering and claiming debts, incited four others to beat up and illegally detain a victim surnamed Shang. Shang was recognized as mildly injured.

On September 23, 2018, Chen instigated others to pledge a car, that he was aware of being a robbed one, for a loan of 148,000 yuan.

On June 9, 2022, one day before they beat up the four women at the barbecue restaurant, Chen and six other people illegally gambled online at a local hotel in Tangshan, involving 660,300 yuan.

The pubic security organs also found more clues that Chen and four other people had engaged in more illegal activities - provoking trouble, affray and gambling house operation.The investigation on whether those suspects were suspected in organized crimes is ongoing.

Previous criminal records and the degree of injury and damage to the victims are believed to be factors on how the suspects would be punished, lawyers said.

A thorough investigation of the police officers'"slow and improper" handling of the case and other illegal acts has been done, the statement reads. It resulted in the dismissal of the deputy head of the public security bureau of Lubei district in Tangshan, the Hebei public security department said in the statement.

A notice from Hebei Provincial Commission for Discipline Inspection released on Tuesday also showed five officials have been investigated for discipline inspection and supervision, including Ma Aijun, the head of the public security bureau of Lubei district in Tangshan.

The timeline released by the statement showed Chen assaulted Wang at 2:40 am and then beat up four women after being opposed. The suspects fled the crime site at 2:47 am. Police reached the site at 3:09 am, 28 minutes after they received a police call at 2:41. The response from the police was criticized for being slow by some netizens.

The Hebei provincial public security department has ordered the Guangyang public security sub-bureau of the neighboring city of Langfang to take over the case from Tangshan's public security bureau. The case was also supervised by an expert team from the Ministry of Public Security. It is believed this will ensure a fair handling of the case.

After the incident, Tangshan authorities encouraged residents to offer tip-offs in the ongoing campaign to crack down on illegal acts, showing determination to eradicate violence in the city.

The public security organs are studying the clues offered by the public, checking and solving them one by one. Clues related to organized gang crimes will be jointly inspected with police from other places.

Global Times