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Student linked to robbery under pressure to graduate: classmate

CLASSMATES of a Beijing university student who allegedly took a woman hostage and robbed a bank of 100,000 yuan (US$14,700) said the man was suffering too much pressure to graduate from university.

Li Li, who was detained five hours after the incidents on July 12, failed to graduate from the University of Science and Technology Beijing after studying for six years, his two classmates told a CCTV program yesterday.

According to the university's policy, a student wouldn't get a graduation certificate if he couldn't pass all examinations within six years.

The failure depressed Li – who came from a poor family in Jiangxi Province -because he felt sorry for his parents who had spent tens of thousands yuan on his education, said classmate Xu Gang.

Xu said Li had neither a cell phone nor a computer during his first four years in university while other students all had one.

He told the program Li was an honest student and had good results during his first three years on campus. "But he began to do part-time work from the fourth year in order not to use his parents' money," Xu said. "As a result he failed in some exams and had to study one more year."

He revealed Li was three years younger than other students. "It's not easy for him to be enrolled in a Beijing university from a small village in Jiangxi."

Xu thought Li robbed money for his parents rather than for himself. "He wanted to give the money back to his parents," he said.

Another classmate, An Junjun, told the program Li had thought of committing suicide before the crime.

Su Wenping, professor with Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics and a member of the Ford Foundation, believed Li's family poverty affected his personality to some extent. So he lied to his family that he had already graduated and seldom communicated with his classmates and teachers, let alone asked them for help, he said.

Li ran into a Bank of China branch at his university, took a woman hostage at knifepoint and snatched nearly 100,000 yuan. He hid the money in a treed area near the campus.


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