China court sentences bus arsonist to death: report

China court sentences bus arsonist to death: report

SHANGHAI, Feb 12, 2015 (AFP) - A Chinese court on Thursday sentenced a man to death for setting fire to a bus in the eastern city of Hangzhou last July, injuring more than 30 people, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Bao Laixu poured paint thinner onto the floor of a bus he was riding in then ignited the liquid, the Hangzhou Intermediate People's Court, which held the trial in January, said previously. Of the 33 injured, 20 were considered severely hurt.

The Xinhua report did not say if Bao planned to appeal. Death sentences in China must also be reviewed by the country's supreme court.

The Hangzhou court has said his action stemmed from "discontent" towards society, but gave no details.

The bus was passing by West Lake, Hangzhou's famed tourist spot, when the fire erupted in late afternoon at the height of rush hour.

Bao, 34, originally from northwest Gansu province, had worked in temporary jobs in several locations in Zhejiang province, the local government has said. Hangzhou is the provincial capital of Zhejiang.

Bao himself was burned in the fire and attended his trial on a gurney, according to the court.

The prosecutor called Bao's crime "extreme anti-social behaviour" and pressed for a heavy sentence as his youngest victim was only seven years old.

Social tensions have mounted in China in recent years against a backdrop of a widening income gap and abuses of public power, with disputes even over trifling issues sometimes triggering serious incidents.

In 2013, eleven nursing home patients burned to death in northeastern Heilongjiang province after one of them set the facility on fire in a row over money, state media reported.

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