Two guards at a detention house in southwest China's Yunnan Province have been detained and may face criminal charges after an inmate in their charge was beaten to death by fellow prisoners during a game of blind man's bluff.
Prosecutors in the provincial capital Kunming have begun an investigation into whether guards Li Dongming and Su Shaolu were derelict in their duties in connection with the death of Li Qiaoming, a 24-year-old who had been detained for illegally cutting down trees.
The public security bureau in Yunnan's Jinning County has paid Li's family 350,000 yuan (US$51,138) as compensation and promised to return a tractor they seized from Li, the dead inmate's father told China News Service yesterday.
Li died of severe brain injuries on February 12 in a hospital in Kunming. Police initially said Li was accidentally injured when he ran into a wall blindfolded during a game with other inmates. The explanation angered Li's family and created a storm of Internet criticism.
A probe by judicial authorities later determined that Li was fatally beaten by inmates who used the game as a cover.
Li had been frequently bullied by three inmates, according to prosecutors. On February 8, the trio asked Li to join them in a game of blind-man's bluff and covered his eyes with a cloth. Then the men began beating him, causing him to strike a wall and pass out, authorities said.
The three inmates will probably face charges of assault resulting in death, prosecutors said.
The chief and deputy of the detention house were removed from their posts, and a Jinning police vice director was dismissed.
(Shanghai Daily March 5, 2009)