Pensioner sparks debate after saving mugger from crowd

Updated: 2008-04-10 23:45

JINAN - Woman pensioner Li Jianhua, from east China's Shandong Province, has sparked debate after saving a man from a crowd after he mugged her and stabbed her.

Li, 53, is a retiree who used to work as a kindergarten teacher in Weihai, a coastal city in Shandong, was stalked on her way home on the morning of March 26, by a knife-toting teenager.

The teenager, aged 19 and only identified by his surname Ding, wrestled her to the floor at knifepoint as she opened the door to her flat. He stabbed her in the head and neck repeatedly as she instinctively called out for help.

In the scuffle Ding was injured with his right hand. Li promised to give Ding everything he wanted as long as he could spare her life.

But Ding went mad when Li found only 100 yuan in cash, and grabbed another knife on a table inside the flat, and lunged at her chest.  The pensioner was wearing a padded coat, and it broke the knife's handle.

The teenager collapsed to the floor, begging Li to kill him for good.

Li had pity. She told Ding: "you are almost the same age as my son, it's not easy for your parents to raise you. I can help you if you have difficulties but you should not do a thing like this. I won't call the police if you choose to leave, or we can go to hospital together."

After having called for an ambulance, Li carried Ding downstairs. By now a crowd had gathered and they believed Ding had attacked Li. They wanted to beat him up. To save him, Li told them that Ding had been hurt in a domestic accident. When in hospital, Li protected Ding again and told staff Ding was her godson.

However, witnesses from the crowd outside her flat reported the case to the police. When the police reached the operating room of the hospital, Li knew that she could not lie to them and told them the truth.

Ding has been placed under police custody after having stitches to his right hand. He will face charges of robbery and if convicted, could go to jail for a minimum of three to 10 years, or get the death penalty.

During an interview with the press on April 2, Li, who is still in hospital getting treatment for her multiple injuries, said she did not reveal Ding's identity at first for fear if she did, he might be beaten to death before they could make their way to the hospital.

"He made a terrible mistake and should be punished according to law, but I do not want to treat him with violence and it won't be of any use to disable him; it won't do anybody good. We should learn to treat bad children with good deeds," Li insisted.   .

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