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Police officer investigated for throwing baby

By Cao Yin | China Daily | Updated: 2013-08-19 09:42

One month after a Beijing man was accused of throwing a young girl to the ground, a similar case in Henan province has sparked public outrage, not least of all because the alleged perpetrator is a police officer.

Guo Zengxi, a policeman in Linzhou, Henan province, is being investigated on suspicion of taking a 7-month-old girl from her father's arms and throwing her to the ground, according to a report in the Legal Evening News.

The parents said the child was injured in the attack, though not seriously.

The alleged incident took place on July 20, but the police officer was not investigated until Saturday. Li Qingfeng and his wife were walking in the street with their child in a stroller at 9 pm on July 20, when they said they came across Guo and two other men near a karaoke bar. According to Li, the three men were drunk.

Guo looked at the girl and then touched her face and arms, said the newspaper report.

"I thought the man (Guo) was just showing affection toward my baby, so I didn't stop him," the paper quoted the 28-year-old Li as saying.

But Guo took the girl from her father, lifted her up and then threw her to the ground, the paper said.

The government's information office said on Sunday that it set up a special team later on Saturday, including local disciplinary and prosecuting authorities, to investigate the case.

Guo, 50, has been placed in detention for 15 days, in accordance with the city's public security rules, but he has not been suspended from his job, said the information office.

"Our team is collecting details and gathering information from the departments and people involved," said an officer who refused to be identified. "We won't be indulgent toward the case, and we will ensure it is tackled according to the law."

The health department has contacted a hospital in Beijing for the girl's further checks, but her parents are not sure when they will come to the capital, the office said.

China Daily tried to contact Li Qingfeng on Sunday, but he did not answer the phone.

As to the motive for the attack, the newspaper said there were rumors that Guo and his friends had a bet on whether the child in Li's arms was a real baby or a toy. However, a neighbor of the parents said the attack was triggered by a dispute between the couple and Guo.

Neither of these accounts has been confirmed, said the official from the information office, adding that the investigating team aims to establish a clear and accurate account of events as soon as possible.

The case came to public attention on Saturday after it was reported on Sina Weibo, a popular micro-blogging platform, and it has been forwarded almost 1,000 times so far.

Hainingqing, a micro-blogger, said he was shocked at such behavior from a police officer and showed his great concern on the baby.

Meanwhile, some netizens also questioned Guo's 15-day confinement, suggesting it was a form of "protection" provided by the local public security office.

Wang Hongjun, director of public security management with the People's Public Security University of China, said the confinement is a disciplinary punishment among police officers.

"Police officers and other law enforcement officers will face heavier punishment in line with laws, and Guo's case indeed demands introspection on the part of all public security agencies," he said.

The public security bureau in Anyang has also set up a team to cope with the case, and Guo has been in the city's detention, in order to avoid "protection" in Linzhou, said the office.

On July 23, a man in the Daxing district of Beijing, surnamed Han, allegedly threw a 2-year-old girl to the ground. The girl later died.


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