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January 24, 2011

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IT worker killed his colleague in fireball

A WORKER with a high-tech company who killed a colleague by pouring petrol over him and setting it alight has been jailed for 13 years.

The killer, surnamed Wu, told the Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court that he set ablaze his colleague, surnamed Xing, in revenge, because Xing had "bullied and harassed" him.

Wu, a former employee of Fudan GrandHorizon, an information company that Fudan University has invested in, claimed that he didn't intend to kill Xing.

He thought that Xing would smother the flames or that colleagues would rescue him.

The court imposed a lenient penalty on Wu because psychologists said he was mentally unstable and should bear limited criminal responsibility.

Wu, a 28-year-old local, was hired by Fudan GrandHorizon in early 2008. He claimed Xing, who was 27 when he died, bullied and harassed him for 18 months.

However, the court said these complaints were trifling or unsubstantiated, such as one incident in 2008 when Wu suspected Xing had looked at private information on his computer and mobile phone.

On July 20, 2009, while at work, Wu called Xing's name, and when he looked up, poured petrol on his back and ignited it with a lighter.

"A big fire broke out instantly and Xing became a fireball," said a colleague surnamed Liu.

While employees tried to extinguish the flames, Wu fled the scene. He later surrendered to police.

"I didn't expect such serious consequences, I was scared and ran off," Wu told the court. "I didn't pour all the gas as I didn't want to kill him."

He believed Xing could extinguish the flames if he rolled on the ground, as that often happened in TV shows.

However, Xing suffered serious burns and died of organ failure in September 2009.


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