Tuesday, 18 February 2014


Guangxi policeman Hu Ping sentenced to die for killing pregnant woman
Former official whose shooting of pregnant restaurant owner prompted President Xi's harsh criticism will appeal his death sentence


A court in Guangxi province yesterday convicted a former policeman of killing a pregnant woman and injuring her husband, and sentenced him to death.

The policeman, Hu Ping , was detained in October after he shot the restaurant owner in Pingnan county, Guigang , following a quarrel. Hu, 33, was allegedly drunk at the time, and the victim was five months pregnant, according to a Xinhua report.

The woman's husband was wounded in the shoulder.

Prosecutors said Hu fired arbitrarily after the victim told him there was no milk tea on sale at the restaurant.
President Xi Jinping spoke in unusually harsh terms about the incident during a speech to top judges and law enforcement officials last month, calling the suspect a "bastard", according to anonymous sources familiar with the meeting.

"It is very unusual to hear the president swear in such nationwide meetings. He must have been very angry," said a person briefed about the speech.

In a sharply critical speech to the judges and senior police officers, Xi said corruption among law enforcement bodies inflicted greater damage on society than did that in other government departments, sources said.

He cited the case of Wang Lijun as an example of how such incidents harmed the public image of the police.

Wang, police chief of the southwestern municipality of Chongqing under its now disgraced former Communist Party secretary Bo Xilai , was convicted of helping cover up a murder involving Bo's wife, Gu Kailai . Wang was sentenced to 15 years in jail in 2012, while Bo was condemned to life imprisonment last year. Gu received a suspended death sentence.

The president also pledged to "get rid of graft in the political and legal sectors and clean up the black sheep of the family", according to Xinhua, which published parts of Xi's remarks.

Yesterday, Hu said in court that he would appeal against the verdict. The victim's family has claimed compensation of 1.23 million yuan (HK$1.56 million).

During his trial last week, the former policeman told the court that he was carrying a pistol while off duty because weapons were loosely regulated at the local police station. In his defence, Hu also said he was drunk, but a physical examination report by a hospital said he was sober when the shooting occurred.

Prosecutors told the court Hu should be seriously punished because as a policeman, he had very little sense of law and used his privilege to "bully the people".

The police chief of Pingnan and a number of other local officials were punished following the murder, Xinhua said earlier, without providing additional information.

Police officers are banned from carrying guns while drinking alcohol or off duty, the Ministry of Public Security said in a statement in 2003.

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