Alleged arsonists nabbed

By Ren Ke and Zhang Haizhou (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-03-25 07:26

Lhasa's public security office has arrested five suspects, including three girls, in two arson cases that claimed 10 lives during the recent Lhasa riot, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Public Security said yesterday.


Two workers repair the telephone line to a building in Lhasa that was damaged during the riots. Xinhua

Shan Huimin briefed the public on the arson cases at a press conference in Beijing.

She said that all five of the suspects had confessed to the crimes after initial investigations.

Two suspects were detained over an arson attack on a motorbike shop at about 10 pm on March 15 in Dagze county, which killed five, including an eight-month-old baby and his parents.

A further three women have been detained for setting fire to the Yi Shion fashion store in central Lhasa on March 14.

Five women shopkeepers, including one Tibetan, were killed.

"The two arson attacks proved the riot was never a peaceful demonstration or peaceful protest but actually, a severe and violent crime", Shan said

The rioting has now stopped and social order has been restored, she said.

"The riots were organized, premeditated and instigated by members of the Dalai clique," she said.

"They were designed to disturb and sabotage the Beijing Olympics," she said.

Police maintained great restraint and never used any lethal weapons while dealing with the rioters, Shan said, adding that 242 police officers were injured.

On Friday, more than 100 people mourned the five young women in front of the shop where they died.

They put flowers and candles in front of the women's photos, which were posted on the burnt wall of the shop.

Motorcycle shop attack

The two men involved in the motorcycle shop case were named as Loyar, 25, and Kangzug, 22, Shan said.

Loyar participated in the riot at 10 pm on March 15, by throwing stones at shops, attacking police and setting fire to a grain shop.

After that, Loyar went to a food shop next door and threw two liquid gas jars from the shop into the motorcycle shop.

Five people who were hiding in a room on the second floor, were killed in the blaze, Shan said.

Fashion store fire

Three women rushed into Yi Shion store on Beijing Middle Road at about 2:30 pm on March 14 and set fire to its remaining stock, after it had earlier been looted by a mob, Shan said.

One suspect named Ben'gyi, 21, used a lighter to set fire to a pair of jeans, while a second suspect, a 23-year-old also named Ben'gyi, set fire to other clothes and flammable items.

The third member of the group, a 20-year-old named Qime Lhazom, fueled the fire by throwing clothes onto it, Shan said.

The women left the shop once the fire was burning fiercely, Shan said.

Five women who were hiding in the shop died in the blaze, she said.

The five victims were all women, the youngest of whom was aged 18.

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