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December 31, 2009

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Vile case of disabled murders emerges

POLICE have arrested nine people suspected of abducting mentally disabled people from a county in southwest China Sichuan Province, taking them to other areas and murdering them in mines to blackmail mine owners.

The nine were nabbed in Leibo County in connection with the murders in nine provinces including Hebei, Fujian, Liaoning and Sichuan, Ye Jianhua, head of the Leibo Public Security Bureau, said yesterday.

One of the suspects, surnamed Feng, allegedly conspired with another two to batter Zhang, a mentally disabled person, to death with a stone in an iron mine in Fujian Province on April 28.

By making the murder look like an accident, Feng asked for compensation from mine owners saying he was the victim's relative, police said.

Leibo police did not provide details of other cases as they were out of their jurisdiction.

"Police in the nine provinces are investigating the cases," Ye said.

In a separate case, a mentally disabled miner, Huang Suoge, died in a colliery on November 23, two days after he began working in the Chengui Mining Group facility in Daye City, Hubei Province.


The company decided to pay 200,000 yuan (US$29,000) to three men who came to Daye and claimed to be Huang's relatives. But when the firm was checking their identities, the three fled without the compensation or the remains.

"More surprisingly, we got the news from Leibo County that the real Huang Suoge committed suicide three years ago," said Li Yunbao, board chairman of the company.

Daye police are checking the identities of the dead man and hunting the suspects.

According to a newspaper based in Hubei's provincial capital of Wuhan, more than 17 fatal mining accidents, from 2007, are now getting close scrutiny by police authorities as possible murder-blackmail cases.

Most of the people involved in the cases were from Leibo County, the Chutian Metropolis Daily reported.

Daye police sent to Leibo were told by officers there that law-enforcement authorities of nine provinces around China had sought their help for similar reasons.

Some villagers in Leibo raised mentally challenged people as captives and traded them or even killed them for profit, the newspaper report said, citing a local driver.


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