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November 3, 2011

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Hero vanishes on way to TV show

Ling Huakun, a man who accidentally hit and killed a robbery suspect while chasing him on the street early this year in Guangdong Province, came to Shanghai yesterday to appear on a television show but disappeared, according to Shanghai television staff.

Luo Xin, host and news commentator on Dragon TV, posted a notice on yesterday afternoon asking for help to find him.

Ling, who was rewarded for his actions, left for Shanghai on Monday and was supposed to record a show for the channel this week.

"We were still in contact when he boarded the plane," Luo said yesterday.

But the show lost contact with Ling after he arrived in Shanghai, and his family in Guangdong have no idea where he is, Luo said.

"For his safety, please let us know if anyone knows his whereabouts," the TV host posted on the Internet.

Ling became known in a controversial case in May in Guangdong when he chased a robbery suspect and killed him, but he later ran into debt because he injured an old woman during the chase and also faced accusations from the suspect's family.

After the incident, Ling, in his 20s, said: "I never thought my family and I would face so many trouble."

The incident happened around 6:20pm on May 18, as Ling was driving his wife and son to hospital in the city of Foshan. On the way, Ling saw two people on a motorcycle robbing someone of a gold necklace.

Ling chased the two but the motorcycle hit Ling's car. One of the suspects died and the other fled.

Ling lost control of his car and hit a parked minibus and an elderly pedestrian. His wife and son were also injured.

Although the government later rewarded Ling for his heroism with 50,000 yuan (US$7,868), he hit a financial crisis.

Ling said: "5,000 yuan for medical treatment for my wife and son, 30,000 yuan to fix my car, 36,000 yuan for the pedestrian I injured and 20,000 yuan for the minibus I hit. Besides the award money, I have had to pay another 40,000 yuan."

Moreover, the dead suspect's family - a wife and two children - have demanded nearly 300,000 yuan compensation as the dead man was providing their only income.

All Ling's compensation payments were later covered by an insurance company, but Ling's situation generated a nationwide debate about the cost of becoming a hero.


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