Some of the nine people suspected of harassing and assaulting four women in Tangshan, Hebei province, on June 10 are also suspected of being involved in other criminal acts, and some officials involved in the case have been accused, following an investigation, of violations of discipline and law, the province's public security and discipline departments said on Tuesday.
The four women who were attacked suffered mild or minor injuries. Two were being treated at a hospital and were recovering, the other two were not hospitalized, the public security department of Hebei province said in a statement on Tuesday.
All seven men and two women who are suspects in the case have been arrested. Over the course of the investigation, evidence was found implicating some of them in other criminal acts.
A man surnamed Chen, the main suspect in the attack, was implicated along with six other people in an internet gambling and money laundering case at a Tangshan hotel that involved more than 660,000 yuan ($98,670), the statement said.
According to authorities, four suspects drove to Tangshan from Jiangsu province on June 7 to plan further details of the gambling and money laundering scheme, the statement said. They dined and drank with the other suspects in the early hours of June 10 at the barbecue restaurant where the attack occurred.
The four victims were dining at the restaurant when one of them, surnamed Wang, was accosted by Chen, the main suspect, and was beaten by him and others after she refused his advances.
An investigation into some officials in Tangshan is also underway. Several police officers involved in the case are suspected of committing serious violations of discipline and law, a statement by the Hebei Provincial Commission for Discipline Inspection and Supervision said in a statement on Tuesday.
Ma Aijun, head of the Lubei district branch of the Tangshan Public Security Bureau, was under disciplinary and supervisory investigation, it said. Ma is also deputy head of the district. Four others－officers and heads of local police stations－were also being investigated.
The condition of the women who were attacked has drawn growing public attention.
The injuries of Wang, 31, and a woman surnamed Liu, 29, were considered minor, according to the Academy of Forensic Science as quoted by the province's public security department.
The definition of injury levels in the judicial system differs from the common perception. Some seemingly serious injuries, such as skull fractures or broken ribs, are classified as minor injuries under the criteria followed by investigators.
After the statements were released on Tuesday, some netizens questioned such appraisals and said the victims' injuries looked serious, judging from photos of Wang, whose head and body were encased in bandages in photos circulating online.