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January 22, 2010

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Officials sacked after fatal land grab

THREE township officials in Jiangsu Province have been sacked over a fatal brawl triggered by a village chief's alleged forceful attempt to acquire farmland for a chemical factory.

A farmer was killed in the fight on January 7 and a post-mortem showed he suffered three deep cuts to his body including one to his liver.

Police nabbed 75 suspects including Sun Xiaojun, the ex-Party chief of Hewan Village in Pizhou City's Yunhe Town, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday.

Family of the victim Li Dongdong held a funeral on Wednesday while newly appointed village officials audited its accounts, said a Pizhou government spokesperson.

Body snatchers

On January 8 the Pizhou government dispatched riot police to take Li's body from his family, although it later said it was trying to protect the corpse.

Li was due to get married in March, said his father.

Li was among hundreds of unarmed Hewan villagers trying to stop a chemical plant taking the village's farmland for factory expansion.

They were assaulted by more than 200 thugs armed with iron bars and choppers. A 21-year-old villager was stabbed in both sides of his chest while trying to defend his mother.

Police said Sun was suspected of plotting the land grab. His two henchmen were allegedly heard shouting, "300,000 yuan (US$43,945) for a life or at most with an extra two years of imprisonment."

A township government source told Beijing Times that Haitian chemical had paid the township government, which only rented the land to farmers rather than grant the land as stipulated by law.


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