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2 teen inmates die in custody

TWO teenage offenders have been confirmed dead while serving jail terms in a reformatory in central China, but there was no immediate word on what caused them to die.

Those deaths followed a series of reports of other prisoners dying while in custody across China.

In the latest cases, Xiao Haixing, 19, died on March 3 in a hospital in Changsha, capital of Hunan Province, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday.

And Qiu Xiaolong, 18, was found unconscious in cell room on March 6 and was certified dead at a hospital after receiving emergency treatment. Both were inmates at a provincial juvenile reformatory in Changsha.

Xiao had been sentenced to five years in the reformatory in January 2007 following a home invasion robbery and was supposed to remain there until February 2, 2012.

Qiu, who served a two-and-a-half-year term for robbing an Internet cafe, would have been freed on October 24.

Xiao experienced cardiac arrest on the evening of March 2 but survived after emergency aid. But his heart stopped beating again at about 7pm the next day, and he was certified dead half an hour later, according to the reformatory.

Qiu had suffered asthma and a chronic wasting disease and was sent to the reformatory hospital on February 16, and he left it on March 2. Another inmate found him unconscious at about 7am on March 6. He was sent to the hospital immediately but was confirmed dead at 7:30am.

Xiao had a skin disease that led to his major organs failure, the prosecutors said. An autopsy later showed no trace of fatal trauma, they added. An autopsy of Qiu determined he died of respiratory failure.

A joint task force by disciplinary authorities at the reformatory and the Hunan prison administration said it has found no fault so far with the actions of the reformatory authorities.

Meanwhile, three suspects were also reported to have died in detention houses or police offices across China.

A senior police officer in northwest China has been detained while the death of a young man who had been arrested for murder is being investigated. Other police officers are also under investigation.

In addition, a suspect was reportedly beaten to death by fellow inmates in a detention house in Danzhou, Hainan Province, on March 3. The chief and deputy of the detention house were suspended from duties shortly after the incident.

At almost the same time two guards at a detention house in southwest China's Yunnan Province were detained and may face criminal charges after an inmate in their charge was beaten to death by fellow prisoners during a game of blind man's bluff.


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