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Deaths in detention house under probe

TWO deaths in custody have been uncovered at a detention house in north China's Hebei Province which is being investigated after a detainee claimed he had been forced to drink 15 liters of water a day by a bullying inmate.

The forced consumption of water permanently disabled Qin Yingwei, 27, and left him blind from high blood pressure. Qin was bullied into poker games by the intimidating inmate and forced to drink tap water every time he lost a game for nearly two months at the detention house of Zanhuang County.

The two deaths occurred between April and November in 2007, yesterday's Yanzhao Metropolis Daily reported. Fang Jiangwei died on November 29 at the age of 25 and 17-year-old Zhi Guoyu died on April 18.

Fang was sent to a hospital on November 28 after complaining of headaches. He was sent back to the detention house after getting better but was rushed back to the hospital early next day after having fits.

An hour later he was pronounced dead, Fang's mother, Jiao Shuyan, quoted the forensic report as saying.

Jiang's parents believed their son had been beaten to death as they saw bruising on his body.

The forensic report indicated Jiang's nose was filled with blood and two needle marks were found on his body. There was also bruising.

The county's public security bureau offered Jiang's parents 90,000 yuan (US$13,174) in "financial aid," the parents said. They are taking legal action against the detention house.

Zhi Guoyu, a Henan Province native, died from what the detention house described as "respiratory failure," according to his father Zhi Zhuanxin.

The family had demanded an autopsy, but had to drop the idea as the detention house asked them for 5,000 yuan for the service, the father said.

The detention house finally agreed to pay 15,000 yuan in compensation to the family and Zhi Guoyu's employer agreed to pay another 35,000 yuan, including 10 months of unpaid wages.

Though unwilling, the father had to take the money and go back home as the family was unable to afford the cost of staying on, he said.


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