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Disgruntled ex-employee burns 3 dead

By Ling Yuhuan (Global Times)

08:06, August 28, 2012

A retired worker at a State-owned water supply company in Hunan Province killed three of her former managers and injured four, including herself, on Monday, after breaking into a meeting room and setting the people on fire using gasoline, officials said.

The attacker in Shaoyang was identified as 48-year-old Shi Yanfei, who later attempted to jump to her death from the office building, the director of the publicity department of the Shaoyang government told the Global Times. Shi was taken to hospital with the other injured.

Company officials suggested the attack was a result of her discontent over the company's refusal to employ one of her twin daughters. The account, however, could not be immediately verified.

The victims included Long Xinmin, Party secretary and general manager of the company, Rao Xiaoyang, executive vice manager, and Guo Jinfeng, a vice manager, according to Li, director the State-owned water supply company who witnessed the attack.

"She ran out of the meeting room which was on the sixth floor, but jumped out of the window on the fifth floor and fell onto a cement platform on the ground floor," Li said.

"There were a total of seven people attending the meeting, but one of the members had left the room to answer the phone and escaped the disaster," Li said.

According to an initial investigation, Shi set the employees on fire because the company had refused to employ one of her twin daughters, though the company had already employed the other daughter, Li said.

The company told the employees at the end of last year that it could provide one job for each employee's children, considering the difficulties faced by job hunters in recent years, Li said.

"It was supposed to be a good thing," he said. "But Shi was not satisfied. She hoped we could also provide a job for her other daughter."

The company provided a job for one of Shi's daughters as a water toll collector earlier this year, and refused to provide a job for the other daughter in a meeting held by the company in early August, according to Li.

Shi was an ordinary worker and retired about three years ago. Company policy requires every employee to retire five years before their normal retirement age, Li said.

Though retired, Shi still received the same payment as other employees, an employee of the factory requiring anonymity told the Global Times. "I think she was wrong," the employee said.

"People always think that they can rest and leave everything to their companies to solve once they enter State-owned enterprises," Yu Shaoxiang, professor of social security at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

Yu said the system of letting the children of employees replace retired ones should be changed.

"As long as the company is impartial when applying the policy to every employee, the workers do not have reasons to resent the leaders," Feng Yujun, a law professor with Renmin University of China, told the Global Times.

It was a huge mistake to retaliate in such a way no matter what the reason was, he added.

About 90 percent of Shi's skin was seriously burned and she also suffered bone fractures, Li said. Another injured person also suffered 80 percent skin burns while the remaining two had mild injuries.

A doctor at the Central Hospital of Shaoyang refused to reveal further information.

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