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China official's son beats man to death in dog attack row: report

BEIJING: The son of a Chinese official beat a man to death in a dispute over compensation after his dogs bit the victim, state media reported Monday, in a case sparking outrage online.

The 24-year-old victim, Xie Benzong, was walking in a park in the central city of Changsha on January 30 when he was bitten by two dogs belonging to Guo Bin, the son of a local official, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Guo, who police described as a “company employee”, drove Xie to a hospital and agreed to give him 300 yuan ($50) in compensation, Xinhua reported. But after treating him, the hospital informed Xie that the bill was more than 1,000 yuan.

Police were called and told Guo to pay 600 yuan, but he refused, Xinhua reported, citing Xie’s girlfriend.

The officers left and the two men began to fight, with Guo striking Xie on the chest and head, rendering him unconscious.

Guo drove away and Xie died five days later despite hospital treatment.

News of the case spread quickly on China’s popular online social networks, with many Internet users expressing outrage that police did not detain Guo until two days after the incident.

“This shows that the law has been nearly trampled to death by the relevant departments,” one user of Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblogging service, wrote on Sunday.

“If you want to know why there’s so much opposition to raising civil servants’ wages, it’s because of ‘guan’erdai’ like this,” wrote another, using a Chinese term for the children of government officials.

According to the Xinhua report, Guo turned himself in and the case is currently under investigation. His family also paid 840,000 yuan ($135,000) in compensation to Xie’s family, Xinhua said.

Internet users in China frequently voice outrage over cases of the well-connected exhibiting outrageous behaviour or appearing to be treated as above the law.

In March 2013, the son of a close ally of then-president Hu Jintao was left dead after a high-speed Ferrari crash in the capital. Two women passengers, one of them naked, were both injured.

Ling Jihua, the man’s father, was removed from a key party post and given a less high-profile position following the accident, which added to public perceptions in China of corrupt and high-living officials.

In another high-profile scandal in 2010, the son of a police chief tried to use his father’s status to avoid any consequences for a fatal car accident.

After running over a student in the northern province of Hebei, Li Qiming shouted: “Sue me if you dare. My father is Li Gang!”

His words became a catchphrase used to refer to children of powerful families who appeared to act with impunity. -AFP

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