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Police have arrested eight people involved in a forced demolition of homes last week in an old community in Harbin, Northeast China's Heilongjiang province.
Among the suspects are three employees from a local demolition firm, an unemployed person who helped rent vehicles and four drivers. All were allegedly hired to tear down at least six homes in the Daoli district of Harbin on March 14, Li Guang, a police officer with the Harbin public security bureau, said on Thursday.
A property developer, Harbin China Youth Development Company, has denied allegations that it was behind the demolition.
Li said police were pursuing other suspects involved in the bulldozing, which has sparked a public outcry after a video of the incident was posted on the Internet.
A bulldozer drove into the community, which was built 40 years ago, at around 10:30 pm and a gang of more than 20 masked men forced their way into the houses and hauled out their occupants, said Wu Guihua, 57, one of the evicted residents.
"I was watching TV in bed when they broke in and forced me out. They didn't even allow me to put on my shoes," she said.
Wu said two young men dragged her from her house, while a third one covered her mouth to prevent her crying for help.
She said she was forced to stand in the bitter cold and saw about 20 other men, all masked and holding clubs, who "flattened several homes within just minutes".
"Broken windows, tiles, basins and clothing were everywhere," she said.
A resident stands in front of his wrecked home in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, last week. Homes of six households were demolished on March 14 after the residents were dragged out at night. Wang Tienan / for China Daily