Hebei updates victims' situations, probe results of restaurant assault amid mounting public calls
Published: Jun 21, 2022 08:50 PM
Tangshan launches a special campaign against crimes dubbed Thunderstorm.

Tangshan launches a special campaign against crimes dubbed "Thunderstorm." Photo:VCG

The public security authority of North China's Hebei Province on Tuesday gave an update on the situations of four victims injured in a brutal restaurant assault in Tangshan on June 10, as well as progress in the probe of the attackers and disciplinary investigation into some police officers' mishandling of the case, amid mounting public calls for more information to be released. 

Two of the victims were identified as having had slight bodily injuries, and they have been charged from the hospital. The other two suffered minor injuries of Class II level and are being treated in the hospital, and their situations are improving, according to a statement published by Hebei Public Security Department on Tuesday. 

The announcement triggered heated discussions online, with many netizens asking why the video clips of the incident showed the women were brutally assaulted but they were identified as having "minor and slight" injuries. 

In China, injuries in terms of judicial expertise are different from common sense. Injuries in terms of judicial expertise are categorized into five levels, from severe to slight, as severe class I injuries, severe class II, minor class I, minor class II and slight injuries. 

Nose and rib fractures, which are usually deemed as serious, are slight injuries in the judicial sense. Two or more rib fractures, a broken eye, or nerve injuries in four limbs are slight class II injuries.

Severe class I injuries include the loss of two limbs, or bursting of major blood vessels in the neck.

Lü Xiaoquan, a Beijing-based lawyer, told the Global Times that the judicial evaluation of injuries determines the penalty of a suspect. Usually, intentional injury involving minor injuries will result in up to three years in prison and the crime of "provoking trouble and affray" can result in up to five years in prison.

If the other suspected crimes, including suspected gang crimes, are verified, the suspect could face combined punishment for multiple crimes, Lü said. 

According to the Hebei Public Security Department, further investigations are in progress over illegal behavior and crimes committed by the nine suspects, who were arrested on June 12. 

One of the main suspects, Chen Jizhi, is suspected of engaging in organizing online gambling, money laundering, illegal detention of others, provoking trouble and affray.  

Chen and other suspects were also suspected of involvement in gang crimes. 

In the wake of the restaurant attack, which sparked a public uproar, more people in Tangshan shared their experiences of injustice with many connecting to gang crimes, in the hope that their cases can be addressed properly. 

The emergence of such cases also prompted suspicions that local gangsters could have a "protection umbrella" inside grassroots-level public security organs, fueling public calls for thorough investigations of grassroots-level officials by disciplinary authorities. 

The Tuesday notification from the provincial-level authority said that disciplinary organs are investigating the slow police response, non-standard law enforcement and other misconduct. Some police officers are under disciplinary probes, and a deputy head of the Lubei district public security bureau in Tangshan, which handled the June 10 case, was dismissed. 

The Hebei Provincial Commission for Discipline Inspection announced on Tuesday that five officials have been put under discipline inspection and supervision, including Ma Aijun, the head of the Lubei district public security bureau. 

The Tuesday notification addressed some major questions from the public over the investigation of the June 10 attack. Traditionally, police only issue a notification after investigations conclude, and this notice updating phased progress marks a change in public communication, Shen Yi, a professor at Fudan University and active commentator on social affairs, told the Global Times on Tuesday.