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Official could face death penalty over driving fatalities

[ 2010-12-08 13:08]     字号 [] [] []  
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An official from Central China's Henan province has been arrested after killing five teenagers while driving drunk on Sunday night, in the latest in a spate of serious drunken-driving cases across the nation.

Police have been working hard to handle an alarming number of cases during a national crackdown on drunken driving.

The People's Procuratorate of Luoning county, Luoyang city in Henan, approved the arrest of Gu Qingyang, the county's post office chief, on a charge of endangering public safety, said a spokesman with the Luoyang city committee of the Communist Party of China.

Gu, if convicted, may face a maximum sentence of capital punishment, according to China's Criminal Law.

At about 11:30 pm on Sunday, Gu drove a car in reverse into a group of seven teenagers walking on a road. Three of them died at the scene and two others died later in a hospital, local police said.

The five victims, four boys and one girl, were aged 13 to 16.

"I felt a blast of wind at my side. When I turned around, I saw five of my friends knocked to the ground," a survivor, surnamed Li, told the Xinhua News Agency.

"People on the road were angry and tried to stop the driver, but he kept going until the car broke down and he had to stop."

Police investigators said Gu parked the car some 280 meters from the spot where he hit the first teenager. They did not say why he had been driving in reverse.

"Luoyang city government and the police are investigating the case.

All I know is we attach great importance to this case and we've been told to work hard on it," an officer from Luoning police bureau, who would not disclose his name, told China Daily on Tuesday.

The tragedy occurred less than two months after a local official's son in North China's Hebei province killed a college girl in a drunken-driving hit-and-run case.

Li Yifan, 22, allegedly said "Sue me if you dare. My father is Li Gang" when stopped by a crowd after hitting the girl in the campus of Hebei University on Oct 16. His father, Li Gang, is a deputy district police chief in Baoding city.

The incident fueled public outrage at abuse of power and "my father is Li Gang" later became a popular sarcastic joke online, mocking the arrogance of power and social inequality based on family background.

China launched a crackdown against drink driving in the second half of last year after a string of deadly drunken-driving cases.

From January to the end of October this year, police nationwide caught 478,000 drink and drunken drivers, compared to 313,000 for the entire year of 2009, according to figures the Ministry of Public Security provided to China Daily on Tuesday.

Under Chinese laws, one becomes a drink driver if he/she is found to have an alcohol content of 20 to 80 milligrams per 100 milliliters of blood; and one is a drunken driver if he/she registers more than 80 mg per 100 ml.

As part of the country's efforts to make its roads safer, legislators earlier this year made driving under the influence of alcohol an independent charge in the eighth draft amendment to the Criminal Law.


1. What was the driver’s position in the government?

2. How many did he kill?

3. What is the maximum sentence he will receive?


1. Post Office Chief.

2. 5.

3. Capital Punishment.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Official could face death penalty over driving fatalities

Official could face death penalty over driving fatalities

Todd Balazovic is a reporter for the Metro Section of China Daily. Born in Mineapolis Minnesota in the US, he graduated from Central Michigan University and has worked for the China Daily for one year.