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Police assault inquiry: Murder case reopened

POLICE in northwestern China have decided to reopen an investigation into the death of a teenage girl that led to the arrest of her schoolmate who later died during an interrogation.

The Public Security Bureau in Shangluo City's Danfeng County, Shaanxi Province, has set up a special team to re-examine the death of Peng Lina, a 19-year-old student from Danfeng Middle School river who was found dead on a river bank on February 10, Xinhua news agency reported today.

Her friend Xu Genrong, 19, was picked up by police for questioning over Peng's death on the night of February 28. Danfeng County police said in previous reports that Xu had confessed to Peng's murder on March 1 and he had been immediately detained.

On March 8, he suddenly became short of breath and his pulse weakened while he was being questioned, authorities said. He was then sent to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The death came into spotlight after Xu's family claimed that their son was beaten by police during the eight-day interrogation.

The family told reporters that bruises had been found on Xu's body and blood in his nose. They said the police detained him without showing them any evidence of his involvement in Peng's death. They lost contact with the boy after he was detained on February 28. Eight days later they were told the boy had died. An autopsy was conducted the next day.
The result is expected to be revealed next week.

Prosecutors have already launched an investigation into Xu's death.

The Xinhua report quoted the county police authority as saying that they would not shield or protect anyone if they found anything illegal in the previous inquiry into Peng's death.

Danfeng police director Yan Yaofeng earlier told the Shaanxi-based Chinese Business View that the police had substantial proof of Xu's involvement before detaining him. Their case was not based solely on Xu's confession.

Xu and Peng had been lovers and Peng's murder could have been motivated by rape or revenge, according to the police.


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