Cop shoots and kills 3, injures police chief (2)

08:38, June 13, 2010      

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In February 2009, Ji Zhongchun, a drunken, off-duty policeman in Yunnan Province, killed a man with three shots during a brawl. Ji received a suspended death penalty in December that year and was fined 100,000 yuan ($14,640).

The most controversial police shooting case occurred in January when Zhang Lei, a deputy police chief in Pogong, Guizhou Province, shot dead two local villagers, Guo Yonghua and Guo Yongzhi, who were reportedly involved in a fight on the street.

Family members of the two deceased, as well as the local community, disputed an initial report issued by the local government that the two men were shot dead as they attempted a drunken assault on the policeman, with some witnesses claiming that the policeman shot them in cold blood.

While the case is still under a probe by a team from the Ministry of Public Security, the string of police shootings has triggered heated debate over control of gun use by police forces.

Li Kejie, an associate law professor with the Shandong University of Political Science and Law, told the Guangzhou-based Information Times that it is easier for police officers to commit crimes than civilians, under the guise of using official guns legally.

Chen Tao, a criminal law lawyer with the Beijing Bar Association, attributed the rise in police shooting cases to the loose application of rules on gun control and some loopholes in the rules.

"Some organizations or individuals authorized to use guns may have their own interpretations of relevant regulations on the use of firearms when performing duties," he told the Global Times.

Meanwhile, it is also difficult for authorities to strike a perfect balance between the intention of better protection for policemen, security guards and escorts and the effort to contain their abuse of guns, he added.

Qiu Wei, Fu Wen and Kang Juan contributed to this story
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