Six detained over Chinese vendor's death

Updated: 2013-07-20 12:52


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CHANGSHA - Six urban management officers who were involved in a violent clash with a watermelon vendor that led to his death were detained on Saturday in Central China's Hunan province, local authorities said.

The six were suspected of intentional injury and were taken into custody in the detention house in Chenzhou city, sources with the Linwu county government said.

Deng Zhengjia, a 56-year-old farmer from the village of Liantang in Nanqiang Township of Linwu, died following a physical conflict with urban management officers on Wednesday morning, Deng's niece said.

The fight occurred after Deng and his wife tried to sell watermelons at a riverside scenic spot where urban management officers had banned such activity, according to his niece.

She cited a witness as saying that Deng was struck by weights from a set of scales, adding that his wife was also injured and is being treated at a local hospital.

But the Linwu county government said at a Thursday news briefing that a preliminary probe showed that none of the officers had struck Deng with the metal weight.

Deng's body was buried on Thursday evening in accordance with local customs following an autopsy on Thursday afternoon in the presence of his family, witnesses and local procuratorate officials, according to authorities in Chenzhou.

Police in the city have sent body samples to an institution in south China's Guangdong province for further examination to determine the cause of death. Local authorities will announce the result once the examination is finished.

China's urban management officers, a para-police force tasked with enforcing municipal bylaws and maintaining urban order, are often criticized for their violent law enforcement methods. Reports of officers beating vendors and smashing their wares often appear in the media.