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October 28, 2009

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Book salesman beaten to death

THREE people have been detained for beating a book salesman to death and injuring four of his colleagues, who were mistaken for human traffickers, at a primary school in east China's Zhejiang Province, local police said yesterday.

Police said fears from a recent abduction and murder at Chumen Primary School in Yuhuan County were behind Monday's attack.

The incident took place early Monday morning when the five salesmen were handing out leaflets about a lecture at Chumen Primary School, Weng Zhengui, deputy director of the Yuhuan Public Security Bureau, told a press conference yesterday.

When school officials inquired about their identities, they were reluctant to answer questions and would not reveal their purpose, Weng said.

Their behavior aroused abduction fears among school officials and parents, as a pupil at the school had been kidnapped and murdered late in September, Weng said.

"Although the case has already been cracked, parents have not got over the scare," he said.

A school official then called the police, but rumors had begun spreading that the salesmen were human traffickers and were trying to abduct the pupils.

About 300 parents and passers-by surrounded the five who were by then in the school's reception room.

Some of them lost their tempers and broke into the reception room to beat them, Weng said.

Almost 100 police officers were sent to control the situation, he said. The five salesmen were rescued by officers and sent to a local hospital.

One of them, Wang Xu, died at the hospital, and the other four were still being treated.

Of the three suspects detained, one was the parent of a school pupil and the other two were passers-by, Weng said.

The five salesmen drove from Ningbo to Yuhuan on Monday to hold a lecture and sell books, he said.


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