Five on trial for fa­tal beat­ing

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By SU ZHOU suzhou@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Five peo­ple who were ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of fa­tally beat­ing a woman in a McDon­ald’s res­tau­rant in Shan­dong province were pros­e­cuted by the Yan­tai Peo­ple’s Procu­ra­torate on Mon­day, Xin­hua News Agency re­ported.

The five de­fen­dants are Zhang Li­dong, 54; his daugh­ters Zhang Fan, 29, Zhang Hang, 18, and two other women, Lyu Yingchun, 39, and Zhang Qiao­lian, 23.

The procu­ra­torate ac­cused Zhang Fan, Zhang Li­dong and Lyu Yingchun of in­ten­tional homi­cide and un­der­min­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of law, and Zhang Hang and Zhang Qiao­lian of in­ten­tional homi­cide.

“The cir­cum­stances are es­pe­cially se­ri­ous, their means are es­pe­cially cruel, and the af­ter­math is es­pe­cially se­ri­ous,” the in­dict­ment said.

The woman, sur­named Wu, was beaten to death on May 28 at a McDon­ald’s res­tau­rant in Zhaoyuan, Shan­dong province, af­ter she re­fused to give her tele­phone num­ber to the sus­pects, who were al­legedly try­ing to re­cruit new mem­bers for their cult Quan­neng­shen, which means “Almighty God”.

Af­ter they were ar­rested, they showed no re­gret for the in­ci­dent, au­thor­i­ties said. They al­legedly be­lieved the woman was a “devil” or an “evil spirit”, and both the fa­ther and his el­der daugh­ter said they are nei­ther afraid of the law nor re­pen­tant for what they did, the au­thor­i­ties said.

The case trig­gered a crack­down on and in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the cult in Shan­dong in early June. The Min­istry of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity said Chi­nese po­lice will “se­verely at­tack” re­li­gious cults and pun­ish those who par­tic­i­pate in such move­ments.

Yi Shenghua, a lawyer at Bei­jing Yingke Law Firm, said that if the five are con­victed, the court is likely to sen­tence at least one of them to death and carry out the ex­e­cu­tion or ex­e­cu­tions im­me­di­ately, if there is no other fac­tor point­ing to le­niency in sen­tenc­ing.

“The case is dif­fer­ent from other in­ten­tional homi­cide cases like a wife killing a hus­band for his cheat­ing. The vic­tim was beaten to death with­out do­ing any­thing wrong,” said Yi. “Such a ran­dom mur­der case with such in­flu­ence will lead to a very heavy sen­tence.”

Yi said other fac­tors also could in­flu­ence the sen­tences.

“There are voices ques­tion­ing the men­tal sta­tus of those sus­pects, so I think they will prob­a­bly have psy­chi­atric tests.”

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