Chengguan, or city management officers, who are notorious for their violent actions against illegal street peddlers made headlines again in China.
A riot broke out in Cangnan county, Zhejiang province, last Saturday when chengguan attacked a man for taking photos of a dispute between the officers and a vendor.
The man, identified as Huang Xiangba, was allegedly slapped, punched and kicked by uniformed and plainclothes officers.
He was knocked unconscious. An onlooker snapped a photo of him which showed blood trickling down from the corner of his mouth.
The crowd kept swelling at the scene. Furious people attacked the chengguan’s vehicle with bricks and sticks, smashing the window and puncturing its tyres.
Five chengguan in the vehicle were badly injured in the assault.
The Cangnan government, in a statement shared on its official Weibo account, said the riot was fuelled by an online rumour that chengguan had beaten a man to death.
It explained that the chengguan from Lingxi city were requesting a vendor to remove gas stoves and other items from the walkway, but the said vendor was not willing to cooperate.
“Huang happened to pass by the scene and used his handphone to take photos.
“He refused to stop when prompted by the officers, and a clash ensued. He was sent to hospital immediately,” the statement read.
The whole incident lasted from 9am to 4pm.
Fifteen suspects were nabbed later while three chengguan who attacked Huang were detained for 10 or 15 days.
This shocking news added to the long list of conflict between the officers and members of the public, who often resent the men in uniform for their abusive actions and use of excessive force.