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Senior officer detained in death-in-custody inquiry

A SENIOR police officer in northwest China has been detained while the death of a young man who had been arrested for murder is being investigated.

The youth's family claims their son was beaten to death by local police.

Wang Qingbao, disciplinary chief of the police in Danfeng County of Shaanxi Province's Shangluo City, was detained on Monday, the Xi'an-based Chinese Business View reported today, citing Danfeng police's deputy director who was not named in the report. Wang was in charge of Danfeng police interrogations.

Other police officers were also under investigation, the deputy director said.

The Danfeng government had planned a press conference to discuss the case yesterday morning, but canceled this without explanation, the Chinese Business View report said.

The report quoted a press conference memo prepared for the media which said that Xu Genrong, 19, a high-school student had developed shortness of breath and a weak pulse on the morning of March 8 when being questioned by police over the murder of Peng Lina, a female student who was found dead on February 10. Xu was immediately taken to Danfeng County Hospital but died there later.

Prosecutors have launched an investigation into the case and organized an autopsy, according to the memo.

Previous media reports said Xu's parents claimed he was beaten to death by the police, and bruises had been found on his 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 the boy was detained on February 28. Eight days later they were told the boy died. An autopsy was conducted the next day.

The family buried the boy's body on Monday at their home in Siping Town. They have agreed to accept compensation from Danfeng County and have received the first 120,000 yuan (US$17,547.58) payment.


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