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May 13, 2016

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Villager kills 3, shot dead by cops as compensation row takes toll

A villager embroiled in a dispute over demolition compensation killed three people with a knife and wounded another before being shot dead by police in Zhengzhou, capital of central China’s Henan Province, according to officials.

Fan Peihua, 36, from Xuegang Village, went on the knife rampage at 4:55pm on Tuesday. When police officers arrived, he threatened them and drove toward them in a car, ignoring a warning shot before officers fatally shot him, Zhengzhou police said in a statement.

According to reports, Fan attacked Chen Shan, deputy director of the local demolition office, and three others who he thought were involved in the destruction of his house — a digger driver and a father and son who recycled old air conditioners, according to The Beijing News. Only the digger driver survived.

Fan’s relatives told the paper that his anger stemmed from financial pressures resulting from the demolition order.

Last year, he borrowed about 700,000 yuan (US$107,450) to renovate his house, turning it into a 7-story structure covering 1,260 square meters, which he had hoped to rent out at a profit. But villagers were informed in January that the community was to be demolished, the paper reported.

According to the Zhengzhou government’s rules, the compensation owed Fan (550 yuan per square meter) was almost enough to cover his debts. However, village officials decreed that the stories above the third floor were illegal and therefore compensation would be set at 340 yuan per square meter.

The Ministry of Land and Resources demanded that the authorities relocate residents in advance of the demolition work, but the village failed to do so, choosing instead to merely promise each resident 12,200 yuan per year to cover their rent and living costs over the first three years, the paper said.

One of Fan’s uncles told the paper that Fan’s father was hospitalized after learning of the demolition, which cost the family tens of thousands of yuan, about 10 times the family’s monthly income, prompting at least 150 people to make donations to help them, the paper reported.

Local demolition officials refused to respond to questions, the paper said, adding that the demolition work started in April. So far, over 95 percent of the villagers have moved out, some to nearby residential complexes and some to shacks built on their vegetable plots. Those remaining in their houses no longer have electricity or water.

A local government official, who refused to disclose his identity, told the paper he had received many complaints from villagers, but officials didn’t take them seriously.


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