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December 11, 2010

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Brutal attack on 14-year-old boy

A 14-year-old boy was allegedly beaten up yesterday morning by a group of 20 people from the city's urban management and law enforcement team in Hongkou District, in a crackdown against unlicensed stands on the street.

The boy, Zhang Zhicheng from Anhui Province, was beaten for about 10 minutes by the group of people in greyish blue uniforms, including officers and assistants, and ended up groveling on the ground crying for help. He could barely move because of the injuries, witnesses said.

Zhang's father came to the scene after hearing his son being hit, but was also beaten up by the same group.

The pair were later rushed to Xinhua Hospital and both are in stable condition.

The conflict happened about 9:30am on Ruihong Road, where an urban management and law enforcement team were clearing the road with unlicensed car-wash stands, illegal stalls and three wheelers.

"There were about 20 people jumping over a wall to beat the kid," said a witness, surnamed Yuan, who was working in his office inside a construction site at 266 Ruihong where the attack happened.

Yuan told Shanghai Daily that Zhang had run into the construction site to hide from the officers. "The gate was closed from the inside, but they just climbed over the walls to chase the kid."

"They even kicked and stamped on his head and waist after he fell to the ground," Yuan added.

"He was crying and told me that he couldn't move as the pain was everywhere," said a woman, surnamed Wang, who entered the construction site to go to work after the team had left. "I ran out and asked the guys in uniform to help the kid, but they ignored me."

Zhang was later rushed to hospital by ambulance and was too weak to speak. Doctors said he suffered several bruises and soft tissue injuries, but his condition was stable.

Zhang and his family had run the car-wash stand on Ruihong Road near the construction site for years, neighbors said.

The Hongkou government confirmed the "physical contact" between the two sides yesterday, but claimed that Zhang and his parents hit the officers first, which was the cause of the conflict.

"Team members climbed the wall of the construction site and asked the boy to open the gate so he could answer questions, but were attacked by him with a wooden bat," said a statement. "The team then broke through the gate to persuade the stand owner to answer questions, when the conflict happened."

Some of the team members were taken by the police for questioning about 4pm, the government said.


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