The son of a senior police official in northern China was sentenced yesterday morning to six years in prison for his role in a deadly hit-and-run that stoked public anger over abuse of power by the country’s elite, a lawyer said.
Li Qiming (李啟銘), 23, hit two students while driving on a university campus last October, killing one and injuring the other. Media reports emerged that when a crowd tried to stop him from fleeing the scene, Li shouted: “Go ahead, sue me. My father is Li Gang (李剛)!” — an apparent attempt to use the influence of his father, the deputy police chief of Baoding, Hebei Province.
The comment exploded on the Internet, becoming the country’s newest catchphrase. The incident focused popular anger at China’s elite and abuses of power, and Li Gang quickly appeared on national TV, weeping, apologizing and bowing in front of the camera.
Li Qiming ended up pleading guilty to drunk driving and vehicular manslaughter, Xinhua news agency said.
Li had been charged with “causing death through traffic offenses” by the court in Baoding — a charge Internet users complained was too lenient.
In addition to the prison sentence, Li was ordered to pay US$69,900 in compensation to the family of 20-year-old Chen Xiaofeng (陳曉鳳), who was killed in the crash, the family’s lawyer Hu Yihua (胡益華) said. Li was ordered to pay US$13,800 to the other victim.
Chen had been roller-skating on her campus with a friend when Li’s car struck them both. The other woman suffered a broken leg, but survived. Prosecutors were seeking up to seven years in prison.
There was a heavy police presence outside the Wangdu County People’s Court for yesterday’s court hearing, which attracted dozens of onlookers.
Family members of the victim were reportedly told to stop talking about it after they received compensation of 460,000 yuan (US$70,000).
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