Five years after an Anhui girl had her face viciously set on fire and severely disfigured by a jilted classmate, a Hefei court has finally decided on a final compensation amount for the crime, leaving both the victim and netizens in shock yet again.
Back in 2011, 17-year-old Zhou Yan was doused with gasoline and set on fire by her classmate, Tao Rukun, after she rejected his romantic advances. Zhou had studied at the same school as Tao in Anhui’s capital of Hefei and had turned him down on multiple occasions, with her parents even arranging for her to transfer to another school to avoid him.
Tao responded by going to the teen’s home, pouring kerosene on her and setting her aflame. The victim suffered second- and third-degree burns covering more than 30 percent of her body, and her face has been left disfigured after the assault.
Along with the viciousness of the attack, much was made about the fact that Tao was the son of government officials. Immediately following the incident, Tao’s father took to Weibo and apologized for the “irreparable hurt” caused by his son, and for not having taught him properly. He added that he would do whatever he could to aid in Zhou’s recovery.
However, reports soon hit Weibo that Tao’s parents had initially refused to pay for the victim’s medical fees unless her family agreed to sign a document calling for their son’s release.
Instead, Tao was found guilty and sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2012. Zhou’s family originally also asked for 4.67 million yuan in compensation; however, the court only granted them 1.72 million yuan in a controversial May 2015 decision.
The victim’s family believed that the amount was simply too small, while Tao’s family thought it was still too large, leading to both sides appealing the verdict. On Tuesday, the court ruled that the compensation should be slightly increased to 1.8 million yuan ($277,000). Upon finding out that the amount had only increased by 80,000 yuan, Zhou Yan fainted in front of the court, Shanghai Daily reports.
On Weibo, many netizens were also shocked by the only marginal increase in compensation for this high-profile case that has been raging for the last half-decade.
“Can you trade 1.8 million yuan for a person’s life?” @TTGhosts wrote.
“Our country’s laws are too negligent! Does 1.8 million yuan make up for ruining her life and bringing her an eternity of agony?! 1.8 million yuan is nothing to the son of a government official! Make him pay until his family goes bankrupt, then he’ll remember what he has done,” @Tiffany小允 wrote.
“All this time and just 80,000 yuan? What a joke,” @Huatuzhen89 wrote.
By Sarah Lin
[Images via NetEase / YCWB / Sina]