Police raid Wukan village homes, arrest 13

People in the Guangdong province village of Wukan said police officers have fired tear gas and rubber bullets at them, breaking into homes and rounding up 13 people for allegedly disrupting public order.

The crackdown came five days after the jailing of its village chief.

Scores of officers equipped with helmets and shields moved into the village at dawn. They guarded major intersections of the village and blocked all roads leading to the village.

Loud bangs were heard during the siege and tear gas shells were also found. Some villagers claimed they were shot with rubber bullets and showed injuries to support their claims. They fought back by throwing stones and bricks.

“Almost a thousand anti-riot police officers are here. They rounded up more than ten people and beaten up many of us. Many people have been injured by tear gas and rubber bullets”, said one villager.

Another villager said the crackdown was similar to what happened to the village chief Lin Zuluan in June when he was taken away from his home.

An official statement said 13 people were arrested for allegedly inciting a mob and spreading rumours.

It also accused “a small number of lawless people” of disturbing a school, preventing fishermen from working and hampering shopkeepers. The statement said officials tried to “educate and persuade” the protest leaders, but were ignored.

The conflicts started after Lin was sentenced last Thursday to three years and one month in prison for accepting bribes. But the villagers rejected the accusations against him and demanded he be freed. They continued with their protests despite official warnings.

Meanwhile police in Lufeng county issued a statement saying some videos circulating on the internet showing clashes in Wukan village were fake.

On its microblog, they said “internet police” have started investigations and would prosecute the publisher of the videos.

The police also said it was working to crack down on “a minority of villagers” who took part in an “unlawful assembly”, adding that its work was “supported by the public”. They also said the village was gradually returning to order. (Additional reporting by AP)

Source: http://news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/component/k2/1284866-20160913.htm

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