A Beijing court has sentenced two cousins to death for crimes including murdering a Beijing police officer.
Zhang Xinlei, 24, and his cousin Zhang Xinliang, 35, were convicted in the Beijing No.1 People's Court on Thursday, for killing 39-year-old Tang Chengwen, a police officer in the suburban Mentougou district on Oct. 22, last year.
The court meted out death sentences to both the cousins, but gave Zhang Xinliang a two-year reprieve. It said the cousins were also found guilty of sabotaging public communications facilities and theft.
The court said the two, along with Lu Haihong, who was sentenced to five years in jail, stole 197 meters of telecommunications cables at midnight on Oct. 22 last year, before committing the murder.
The three rushed their van laden with stolen cables through a road checkpoint set up by the police. Tang chased and managed to stop the van, but was then beaten to death by the cousins with tongs.
Another four people were given jail terms from 18 months to 30 months for harboring the convicts, the court said.
The incident made brief newspaper headlines in the Chinese capital. China's Ministry of Public Security had offered a 100,000 yuan (about US$12,500) reward for anyone who helped the police detain the fugitives.
The cousins, both from central China's Henan Province, were arrested within four days of the manslaughter in their hometown. The police did not reveal if public information led to the apprehension of the suspects.
(Xinhua News Agency November 2, 2007)