Tibet issues arrest warrants for 16 suspects in riot

Updated: 2008-04-05 18:28

LHASA -- A local procuratorate on Saturday issued arrest warrants for 16 people who were allegedly involved in a riot on March 15 in Dagze county, Lhasa.

"On basis of our investigation and evidence, these people have been identified as suspects in committing arson and endangering public security," said procurator Ma Yongqinq.

The suspects were all illiterate or semi-literate residents of Deqing town who were largely ignorant of the law, Ma said.

Cang'zhoigar was named as a suspect in the riot that killed five people, destroyed 23 shops, burned a house and two fire engines, and smashed a police car.

"On that night, I heard people shouting loudly outside and I joined them, hurling stones at police officers and destroying shops," said Cang'zhoigar, a mother of two.

"I didn't know what was going on but followed their suit blindly. I really regret it," she said tearfully.

Cang'zhoigar said that the country's preferential policies had helped her family. A housing program that began in 2006 enabled her family to build a two-story, seven-bedroom house with a subsidy of 14,000 yuan (about US$1,870). They also had a one-hectare farm that was tax-exempt, with a government fertilizer allowance.

The name of farmer Qoi'dar was also on a warrant. The 36-year-old man has three children who are all in school, one at college. He also got a subsidy of 15,000 yuan for a new house.

"I just followed the others. I had never expected such a bad outcome. Now I really regret what I did," he said.

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