China: Rich man walks free after killing a pretty girl in a joke

3 min read
Foshan, China

According to Guangdong popular daily Xinkuaibao, a rich owner of two property companies, He Feng, 35, is fond of playing jokes on people.

Judging by the report, he is certainly rich enough to enjoy such pranks.

Perhaps due to his wealth and love to enjoy fun with his friends, he has quite a few rich and powerful friends who have elected him a member of Foshan City’s Chinese People’s Political Consultative Committee, a semi-parliamentary organisation. Foshan is quite a big and rich city in Guangdong Province with a population of more than six million people.

We all know Chinese parliaments, whether central or local, are but rubber stamps, but a parliament member of such a large city certainly enjoys certain prestige.

One day, He was playing in a reservoir with a friend when he saw a beautiful young girl coming by. The girl was a perfect stranger to him. He told his friend that it would be great fun if he pushed the stranger girl into the water, and saw how angry she would be.

He climbed up on the shore, walked near her, suddenly held her in his arms and Jumped into the water with her. With a splash, they fell into the reservoir.

He soon swam up, but did not see the girl. He waited for a few minutes, but did not see the girl’s head up above the water. He realised that the girl did not know how to swim. He and his friends searched for her in the water and finally drew her up to the shore. The girl had lost consciousness. They called an ambulance but it was too late when the ambulance came. The girl was certified dead at the hospital.

He surrendered himself to the police and admitted his crime. The court found him guilty of the crime of negligently causing death of the girl and finally gave a verdict of one and a half years imprisonment with 2-year suspension because he deserved a lenient punishment due to his good attitude in admitting his crime and expressing his repentance.

Article 233 of China’s Criminal Law provides, “A person who negligently causes death of another person shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than three years and not more than seven years; and if the circumstance is relatively minor, to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than three years.”

His crime was by no means minor as he wilfully got the girl into the water for fun. Why did he deserve such lenient punishment?

The secret lies in his wealth. He had paid the girl’s parents a compensation of 5 million Macao Pataca (equivalent to US$626,300). Perhaps that was what the court meant of his expressing of repentance. His friends had made the girl’s parents believe that his imprisonment would not benefit them. It cannot bring their daughter back. As a result the girl’s parents did not want to punish him.

He had to maintain good behaviour for two years. Who will be the next victim of his prank two years later? We do not know. We only know that property businessmen are very rich in China. He certainly can afford such compensations in the future.

Money is wonderful in China. No wonder there are so many corrupt officials taking bribes in China.Source: Xinkuaibao “A joke with a beautiful girl unexpectedly caused her death” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)

Tony Simon

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