A murder suspect who gained wide public sympathy in China died after a week on the run

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O Jinzhong, accused of killing two neighbors and injuring three others in China’s southern Fujian province, killed himself while resisting arrest on Monday, police in the city of Putin said in a statement. Statement on Monday evening.

A police statement said O was sent to hospital and died despite emergency rescue efforts.

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Over the past week, hundreds of police and other search party members were searching for O in the hills, where he fled after allegedly attacking his neighbors in a seaside village of Putian on Thursday.

According to the police statement, police and paramilitary forces finally found him in a cave on Monday afternoon and surrounded him.

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Police said 55-year-old Oyu attacked his neighbors with a knife in the midst of a long-running land dispute, killing a 78-year-old man and his daughter-in-law. The man’s wife, 34-year-old grandson and 9-year-old great-grandson were also injured.

The manhunt has engulfed millions of people in China, many of whom openly hoped he would never be caught. The level of sympathy and support for an alleged murderer is highly unusual in China, where murder is punishable by death.

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In the absence of preliminary official information, the Chinese media and the public used the accounts of fellow villagers, Ou’s previous social media posts and previous media reports to piece together an unofficial version of the events that could have led to the killings.

Many believed that Ou was an ordinary man who had been pushed to the brink of despair in a housing dispute that went on for years. Public sympathy grew when reports emerged that he had saved a young boy from drowning at sea three decades ago and rescued two dolphins that were nearly stranded in 2008.

For nearly five years, Ou and his family – including his 89-year-old mother – had no home, according to Ou’s Weibo post and Chinese media reports. Instead, they lived in a small tin hut in a seaside village in the city of Putian.

According to the posts, Oyu was repeatedly prevented from building his home because of a land dispute with his neighbour. He said he repeatedly sought help from the police, village officials, the government and the media, but the problem remained unresolved.

A village official told state-run Beijing News that local activists tried to mediate, but to no avail.

Many blamed O’s apparent transition from savior to murder suspect on the ills that have long plagued China’s local governance, from abuse of power to official inaction. Others see it as a reflection of the widespread failure of the country’s legal and bureaucratic system, exacerbated by a besieged free press and a crippled civil society.

As the murders gained public attention, O’s account on the microblogging site Weibo disappeared, and the local government of Pinghai County issued a bounty for O, containing more information than any information for his arrest. More cash prizes were offered for evidence of the crime – causing further outrage among the public.

And the news of O’s death on Monday evening saddened many.

“He did not enjoy (protection) of the law in his entire life,” said one top comment on Weibo. “This is the saddest news I’ve ever read,” said one more.

Others said they were not convinced that O took his own life, and asked police to release videos of arrests (in China, police often saw body-worn videos of arrests and other law-enforcement activities). Requires recording with cameras.)

“He killed himself soon after getting it?” a Comment said. “The public will not be so easily convinced.”

How to get help: In the US, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The International Association for Suicide Prevention and Friends Worldwide also provides contact information for crisis centers around the world.

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Credit : www.cnn.com

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