Fri, Jul 20, 2012 - Page 6 News List

US citizen tortured by Chinese police officers: lawyer

AFP, BEIJING

Police in southern China have tortured a Chinese-American businessman who is in custody suspected of leading an organized crime gang, his lawyer said on Wednesday.

Vincent Wu, or Hu Weisheng (胡煒升), who was born in China but lives in Los Angeles, was detained by police in Guangdong Province on June 22. He was only given access to his lawyers on July 12, lawyer Qin Futing (秦富亭) said.

“He told us that they were trying to torture a confession out of him,” Qin said. “He looked pretty bad, he was beaten badly.”

Wu carries a US passport and also has a Hong Kong residency card, police said.

Chinese police are notorious for their bad treatment of criminal subjects and torture to force confessions is widely used, lawyers and rights groups say.

Wu, 53, was arrested by police in Huizhou in a joint operation that led to the detention of 42 others suspected of being in Wu’s gang, the Huizhou police force said in a report on its Web site.

Wu and the alleged gang are facing charges that include kidnapping, extortion, assault with intent to injure, arson and other crimes, the report said.

The crimes were allegedly committed as Wu tried to control fruit and wholesale markets linked to his firms in Guangdong, it said.

“We think that Hu Weisheng is likely innocent, the charges brought against him are unjust,” Qin said.

According to the overseas Chinese-language news Web site Boxun, Wu was strung up by his arms and beaten, had an electric cattle prod forced into his mouth and had his head slammed into a wall. He was also deprived of sleep.

Most of the other detainees received similar treatment, while some were released after they said that Wu had committed crimes, Boxun said.

More than 600 police officers were involved in the detentions that were part of a crackdown on organized crime in Guangdong.

“We are aware of this case,” a US embassy spokesman in Beijing said. “Due to privacy considerations, we are unable to provide further information.”

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