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Hostage exempted from rape, murder charges

A HOSTAGE who was allegedly forced to rape and strangle a 25-year-old woman in central China was exempted from criminal charges after prosecutors recently launched litigation against the eight suspected kidnappers.

The hostage, who was identified as Xia, was reportedly an employee of a district procuratorate in Pingdingshan City, Henan Province, Oriental Morning Post reported today.

Xia was reportedly kidnapped by eight ex-convicts on October 14 and forced to have sex with Wang Kejia, who was kidnapped hours later.

The eight suspects, six who had been inmates in a prison in Henan's Luoyang City, also allegedly threatened to kill Xia if he refused to strangle Wang with a rope.

Xia was released the next morning and blackmailed for 10 million yuan (US$1.46 million) by the kidnappers while Wang's body was discarded in a 40-meter-deep mine shaft, the report said.
There were reports the alleged kidnappers had taken digital photos of Xia and Wang, but police denied the photos existed, according to Hao Zhenyu, head of Pingdingshan police's press office.

After Xia was released he called police immediately.

Wang's parents thought Xia should also be held responsible for their daughter's death, but Pingdingshan police said he was not guilty and they wouldn't take legal action against him.

Dong Zhengyue, head of a detective squadron at Pingdingshan Public Security Bureau Xinhua branch, told the newspaper that Xia was forced to strangle Wang, who survived the attempt only to be killed later by the kidnappers.

Xinhua branch's detective chief Li Tingshan said Xia had had his eyes blindfolded by kidnappers when he was forced to have sex with Wang and strangle her.

Police denied the kidnappers took photos of the incident to blackmail Xia.

According to China's criminal law, offenders forced to commit crimes can be exempt from punishment or receive lenient penalties.

Hao said on Wednesday that Xia was in an unstable mood and often had nightmares. He stayed at home and never went to the office, Hao added.

People who know Xia said he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Pingdingshan police disclosed that the eight suspects abducted another woman on November 1 in neighboring Luohe City in preparation for kidnapping and blackmailing their next target, a Pingdingshan coal mine administration official, before they were caught. The woman was gang-raped, police said.


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