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January 18, 2010

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Cop investigated over 2 shootings

THE Ministry of Public Security is investigating an alleged assault on a police officer that resulted in two people being shot dead in Guizhou Province.

Guo Yonghua and his cousin Guo Yongzhi, both from Pogong Town in Guanling Miao Autonomous County, were shot dead by Zhang Lei, deputy chief of a police station.

An official press release, which was released 19 hours after the shootings, stated the Guos attempted to snatch Zhang's pistol during a struggle and that Zhang initially fired warning shots.

However, the families of the victims didn't accept the official explanation and insisted both were innocent.

The township government - with annual revenue of about 200,000 yuan (US$29,300) - promised to borrow money from the county government to pay 350,000 yuan compensation to each family.

This raised public concern as many questioned why the government would pay compensation in a case in which an officer was assaulted.

In addition, witnesses at the scene told Wuhai Evening Post that Guo Yongzhi had been shot twice, which was not mentioned in the official press release, and that no fight occurred between the Guos and officer Zhang.

According to the police station, a call was received to handle a brawl between the Guos and their relative Dai Cunzhong and his two sons.

Zhang and police assistant Wang Daosheng responded.

The Ministry of Public Security has sent a task force to investigate the case.

Zhang is still free.

He told the newspaper on Friday that he had been moved to another position even though the official press release said he was being investigated.

Local government dispatched armed police troops to block the road to Pogong on Tuesday night and the families of the dead admitted they had been worried about the corpses being seized by soldiers. Each family thus accepted the government's 350,000 yuan compensation proposal after initially demanding 700,000 yuan each.

However, the township government has only paid 30,000 yuan to each family, telling them the bodies needed to be disposed of first. The Guos were buried on Saturday.


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