Linfen is a city devastated by industry, in 2006 it was named the world’s most polluted city. Image credit: Bert van Dijk.
By Beth Main.
Four masked men broke into the home of 66-year-old Qiao Baoshan early on Sunday morning in the city of Linfen, dragged him out of bed and hacked him to death with axes. Police have arrested 5 suspects for the murder which reportedly took place over a dispute with a land developer.
The victim’s son Qiao Yongqiang told reporters over the phone that the men broke in at about 2:30 a.m. on the morning of the 25th. Yongqiang received a terrified phonecall from his mother Fan Xiuye, ‘You’re fathers been killed, come quickly!’ He arrived to find his father dead on the floor and blood everywhere.
The victim’s 64-year-old wife Fan Xiuye said that the men broke into their home in the middle of the night, one man restrained her, smothering her mouth, while the other three dragged her husband out of bed onto the floor, brandishing axes. The men ran away soon after, the entire attack lasting no more than 10 minutes.
Yongqiang told reporters that in 2007 his village’s land was illegally turned into a construction test site. The developer, YangZhou Real Estate, took the local cemetery and arable land, but the villagers never received any compensation. His father had organised repeated complaints, most recently on the 5th and 24th of September going in person to the site but he was beaten up by construction workers.
According to Yongqiang on the night of the 24th he was contacted by the developer to say that they would pay his father if he promised not to make any further complaints, but his father refused the offer. In a public letter to Party Officials and journalists he asks that the culprits be arrested and brought to justice: ‘a blood debt must be paid’. He also demands that YangZhou Real Estate be investigated, that his father’s wishes be honoured and the villagers right to compensation recognized, and that the media aid the speedy conclusion of this situation.
Qiao Baoshan was rushed to hospital following the attack but died shortly after arrival. His son Yongqiang claims the attack was barbaric, with most of the damage inflicted on his fathers legs and stomach, which were cut in numerous places.
Police have arrested 5 men in connection with the murder. The local security bureau posted on its official Weibo account reporting the incident and their progress in the investigation on the 28th. A local official has revealed that the police are not yet clear whether the murder is related to the land dispute [Spoiler: the murder is related to the land dispute].
On the 30th China Business News revealed that police have identified 6 suspects and arrested 5 men including construction workers who had previously beaten up Qiao Baoshan.