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Man jailed for role in drowning of drunken Kunming student

By Yang Zekun | | Updated: 2020-09-21 18:24
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The Panlong District People's Court in Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, sentenced a man to 18 months in prison on Monday for negligently causing the death of an 18-year-old female student a year ago.

Luo Bingqian, the 22-year-old defendant, was also ordered to pay 63,257 yuan ($9,336) in compensation to the victim's mother, Chen Meilian, in a concurrent civil trial for economic losses including funeral and transport expenses and lost wages.

Luo pleaded guilty on Saturday and said he was willing to accept punishment. As Luo fulfilled part of his obligations to take care of Li Xincao, who drowned in a river while drunk, and turned himself in, the court gave him a lighter sentence.

The case attracted public attention in October after Chen posted a message on Sina Weibo, the biggest microblogging platform in China, saying the police had told her that her daughter committed suicide and then posted a three-minute clip of surveillance footage taken at the bar that showed Luo slapping Li's face twice.

Police in Kunming organized a special task force to investigate the case after the clip went viral online.

Li was a sophomore at Kunming University of Science and Technology. On Sept 8 last year, she went out with her roommate, surnamed Ren, and two of Ren's male friends, including Luo.

The court found that Luo repeatedly proposed drinking alcohol that day. When Li appeared drunk, swaying while walking and acting in an emotionally unstable way, Luo comforted her and fulfilled part of his obligation to help Li and take care of her.

The court said the situation then got worse, with Li starting to talk nonsense and smash things. She hit her head on a table, cut a wrist with beer caps and left the bar to try to climb fence beside the river. Luo failed to call the police or request medical assistance and instead slapped Li's face to try to bring her to her senses. That made Li more emotional and she climbed the fence, fell into the river and drowned.

Chen said she would appeal in the civil case as the other two people involved, Li's roommate and Luo's friend, had not been punished, and also urged prosecutors to seek a longer sentence for Luo.

Kunming's public security bureau punished 16 Panlong police for performing their duties inadequately and violating rules while enforcing the law.

Before the Kunming police set up the investigative task force, Panlong police told Chen her daughter had killed herself. They also said she had agreed to jump into the river with others after they finished drinking, but only she jumped and later drowned.

Li's family rejected that account watching the clip from the bar.

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