Body had been found under sports ground during anti-gang campaign
Two suspects in a high-profile case in which a body of a man was found buried under a sports ground for more than 16 years in Huaihua, Hunan province, have been accused of killing him, local authorities said on Tuesday.
The provincial office against organized crimes announced in a release that prosecutors have approved the detention of Du Shaoping and Luo Guangzhong and charged them with the crime of intentional homicide.
Another 19 officials were punished for duty-related discipline violations in the case. Of them, 10 were detained and transferred for further review, the release said.
In addition, 13 people in a gang led by Du were also detained on suspicion of involvement in organized crime, it added.
In April, Du was detained during a crackdown on gangs and confessed he had killed a man and buried his body under a school sports ground.
The case came to the public's attention on June 20 when police dug up a body buried under the running track at Xinhuang No 1 Middle School.
Through DNA analysis, police confirmed the body was that of Deng Shiping, a former member of the school's maintenance staff who was reported missing more than 16 years ago.
According to Tuesday's release, Du illegally obtained the construction project for the school's playground in 2001 and hired a few people, including Luo, to do the construction.
Du, with Luo, killed Deng on Jan 22, 2003, because Du was unhappy after being questioned by Deng, who was in charge of quality control of the playground's construction, the release said.
To cover up the killing, Huang Bingsong, then headmaster of the school and also Du's uncle, turned to other officials－including Yang Jun, then deputy head of the county's public security and Du's former classmate－to interfere in the investigation, it said.
Huang and Yang have both been expelled from the Communist Party of China. Yang was also removed from public positions while Huang was revoked of his retirement benefits, it said.
The two are also on the list of 10 officials being further investigated for alleged crimes, such as bending the law for the benefit of relatives or friends, it added.
In addition, the release said that Du has been leading the gang in other organized criminal activities since 2008, including disturbance of public order, illegal detention and illegal debt collection.
The authorities in Huaihua and the province pledged on Tuesday that they will continue getting to the bottom of "major old cases" and bring those responsible to justice, no matter who they are and what so-called "protection" they have.
Deng Lanbing, Deng's son, said after hearing about the release that: "our family had not stopped looking for my father for 16 years. I hope the two suspects and the related officials can be punished in line with the law."
Zhou Zhaocheng, the lawyer of the victim's family, applauded the three-year nationwide crackdown against organized crime launched by the central leadership in January 2018, adding he and his client are looking forward to the hearing.