September 1, 2008 / 3:21 AM / 11 years ago

China court sentences police killer to death

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - A Chinese court sentenced a man to death on Monday for knifing to death six police officers in a case that spurred controversy over police treatment of suspects.

On July 1, Yang Jia stabbed a security guard at a Shanghai police station, started a fire at its gate and then burst inside and slashed several police officers, six of whom died.

The Shanghai Second Intermediate People’s Court found Yang guilty of premeditated murder, the official Xinhua news agency said. The brief report did not say whether Yang would appeal against the sentence.

The case drew rare public criticism of police conduct in a country where thousands are executed every year and support for capital punishment is strong.

That unease was echoed outside the court entrance, where more than a dozen residents gathered, denied entry into the hearing.

“Why is this so secret? The government should make this more open so justice can be served,” said one of them, a man who gave only his surname, Wang.

“Now people are wondering whether this trial was conducted fairly or not.”

Foreign reporters were also not allowed into the court.

Local media have said Yang, 28 and from Beijing, had nursed bitterness over maltreatment at the same police station last year when he was an interrogated on suspicion of stealing a bicycle.

The Guangdong-based Southern Weekend newspaper reported Yang had claimed he was beaten during the interrogation. The Shanghai police denied the accusation, the newspaper said.

Writing by Chris Buckley; Editing by Nick Macfie

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