Police officer faces life for drunken murder

08:58, March 04, 2010      

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By Fu Wen

A narcotics investigator faces a lengthy prison sentence, or even the death penalty, for using his gun to kill a hotel security guard in Kunming, Southwest China's Yunnan Province while he was drunken.

Police officer Li Guoqing, who was intoxicated at the time of the shooting, went on trial on Tuesday for murder.

Li denied he intended to kill the guard by saying he just wanted to fire a warning shot during a fight, Kunming-based New Life newspaper reported Wednesday.

The Intermediate People's Court heard that Li, 45, based in Sichuan Province, traveled to Kunming to investigate a drug dealer. He checked into the Wujing Hotel on June 23, 2009.

The prosecutor told the court that Li had a fight with hotel workers that night and the fight escalated when hotel security guards came to intervene.
The prosecutor said Li took out his pistol and shot Gao Bang in his head at close range.

The alcohol content in Li's blood was 182 milligrams per 100 milliliters, which is higher than the 80 milligrams per 100-milliliter limit, at which point someone could be considered legally intoxicated.

The prosecutor said Li should be found guilty of murder.

Li told the court that Gao asked him for protection fee and attacked him.
He added he wanted to warn him.

"I felt dizzy at that time and I did not know I shot him to death. I saw bloodstains on the floor, but I only thought that he was injured," Li said, according to the newspaper.

Qu Xinjiu, a professor specializing in criminal justice at China University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times Wednesday that Li's behavior may be classified as a manslaughter case.

"China's law on the control of firearms enables police to use a gun for warning shots only when an officer is in an extremely dangerous situation where his life or something he protects is threatened by violence and his verbal warning to the criminals did not work," said Qu.

Qu said Li may get more severe punishment because he is a police officer and possibly the death penalty or life in prison.
No verdict has been issued.

Family members of Gao Bang received 650,000 yuan ($95,208) in compensation, including 600,000 yuan ($87,882) from the public security bureau of the Sichuan Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture where Li works and 50,000 yuan ($7,323) from Li's family.

Source:The Global Times

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