China exonerates police in loan-shark killing case

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese prosecutor said on Friday police were not criminally negligent after they failed to intervene in a loan-shark dispute that lead to a creditor being stabbed to death, a case that sparked public anger over police incompetence.

The government has promised to tackle miscarriages of justice after a number of high-profile cases have seen convictions overturned, and several innocent people executed.

China’s top prosecutor in March promised to review the sentencing of Yu Huan who was jailed for life in February after he used a knife to attack four of his mother’s creditors. One died from his injuries.

The creditors had exposed themselves to his mother while demanding a debt be repaid last April, according to state media.

“There were issues with police response not being up to specification in this case, but this does not constitute criminal dereliction of duty, and no criminal case will be filed,” the prosecutor in Shandong province said on social media on Friday.

The prosecutor’s investigation result began trending on the Weibo social media platform soon after it was released, a reflection of the public interest. Most official media did not allow comments on their articles posted online.

The investigation by the prosecutor found that three police had warned a group of about 10 creditors after responding to a call from Yu Huan’s mother, Su Yinxia, on April 14.

But faced with a big crowd, the police had left the scene to call for back up, monitoring the situation via an “insider,” the prosecutor said.

The Southern Weekend newspaper, known for tackling sensitive social issues, suggested in March failure by the police to handle the situation led Yu Huan to attack the creditors, citing witnesses.

Yu’s attorney, Yin Liqing, who filed an appeal in February against the sentence, had said he was considering suing the police for failing to carry out their duties, which Yin says resulted in the killing, state media reported in March.

Su had borrowed more than 1 million yuan ($145,000) in 2014 and 2015 and had agreed to 10 percent monthly interest, state media reported.

Reporting by Christian Shepherd