Man, 20, sentenced to death in robbery, suffocation case

Reuters

A 20-year-old man was sentenced to death and an 18-year-old accomplice was sentenced to 16 years in prison in the suffocation death of a woman who was abducted by knife point from an elevator and robbed, a Beijing court announced today.

Liu Wu, 20, and Du Kaiwei, 18, abducted the woman surnamed Liu in June in the capital's Fengtai district and robbed her of more than 22,000 yuan (S$4913), the Beijing No 2 Intermediate People's Court said.

The two sought a ransom from the 34-year-old Liu's husband before Liu, from Hebei province, suffocated her by covering her nose and mouth, the court said.

The two men also were responsible for a similar case on Dec 8, 2013, in which a 28-year-old woman was forced into an elevator in the district and robbed of 16,300 yuan after being forced to reveal her bank card passwords, the court said.

Du was given the lesser prison sentence because he was under the age of 18 at the time of the crimes, a judge ruled.

After the verdict, Cui Yang, a court spokeswoman, said authorities will provide suggestions to the community on improving security and repairing broken elevator surveillance cameras.

"We found the cameras in the elevators at the scenes were broken, which could make it difficult for police to solve the crimes," Cui said. "The faster we figure out improper behaviours via monitors, the quicker we can avoid tragedies."