(From Jinghua.com) On Feb 24th, an weibo entry accusing son of an official set a girl on fire with lighter fluid after being turned down went viral in the Internet. According to “安徽呱蛋合肥” who made the post, the accident happened on Sept 17th, 2011. 17-year-old boy Tao Rukun (陶汝坤), whose father is a government official in the Audit Office of Hefei City, forced into 16-year-old girl Zhou Yan’s(周岩) house, and poured lighter fluid over Zhou Yan’s head then lit it on fire, resulting in over 30% burned area and disfigured face, neck and chest. Almost 6 months later, the boy’s father apologized for the first time on his verified weibo, only to trigger more fierce condemnation from the netizens.
Tao Rukun’s father wrote on his weibo on Feb 25th –
I am an employee of the Audit Office of Hefei City. Due to my inadequate educational methods, my son Tao Rukun has resulted in an irreversible damage and tragedy to Zhou Yan and her family, I am deeply sorry about this and my apology to all netizens. I will try my best to support Zhou Yan’s recovery treatment. Tao Rukun has been under detention, the case is in law procedure, I will accept lawful judgment and never avoid my due responsibility.
According to the girl’s mother Ms Li, Zhou Yan has just passed her 16 birthday when it happened. She said: “Tao Rukun and my daughter are from the same middle school but in different class. He was chasing after my daughter. To avoid his harassment, I transferred my daughter to another school but he just wouldn’t leave her alone. At last my daughter had discontinue her study and stayed at home.” In September 2011, Zhou Yan returned to school, and the tragedy happened on Sept 17th.
“At that day, only my daughter and her aunt were at home. Tao Rukun ran into our house, poured lighter fluid onto my daughter’s head and set her on fire.”
The aunt recalled: “I came running after I heard a scream, only to find the kid in fire and Tao Rukun was yelling ‘die die die’ on the side. I quickly use sheet to put out the fire and dialed 120. Tao stood there and did nothing during the whole time.
Zhou Yan was sent into the hospital and went through 7 days and nights of surgery to get out of danger. However, her head, face, neck and chest were severely burned, one of the ears was destroyed and the overall burnt area up to 30%. She was disfigured.
In October last year when Zhou Yan was still in ICU, Tao Rukun’s parent presented a document to Ms Li and threatened to cut the payment for Zhou’s recovery unless they signed the paper. The document stated that Tao Rukun was actively helping to rescue Zhou Yan and he turned himself in to the police. “We refused to sign, and they stopped paying for the treatment.”
Ms Li said: “The medical cost and treatment for my daughter has amounted to over 400,000 yuan, they paid 330,000 of it, we still owed the hospital over 100,000 yuan. And there is more than 300 yuan medicine cost everyday.” Without choice, Ms Li has to discharge her daughter from the hospital.
“We are from working class. I work in the supermarket, earning 1000 yuan each month. I don’t know how to continue her treatment. We don’t have money for a plastic surgery for her, nor can we pay for lawsuit. The whole family is in despair.” Ms Li hoped that relative department can speed up the procedure and do her daughter justice.
As to why the case was taking so long, Ms Li’s lawyer said: “the wound evaluation department explained that the girl’s neck is severely damage, they have to wait until after skin grafting to do the evaluation. In that case, it won’t happen until 3 months later, which is unacceptable for our victim. While in the procedure point of view, the court won’t step in without a wound evaluation.”
According to the police department of Hefei City, the victim was receiving treatment for a long time and her condition is not stable enough to conduct a wound evaluation. Pressured by the public outcry over the Internet, the police has carried out the wound evaluation and promised to publicize it when it finishes.
“Before the accident, we have contacted Tao’s family many times, asking them to keep an eye on their son and stop harassing my daughter. I even kneeled to Tao Rukun to beg him leave my daughter alone, but nothing worked.” Ms Li said the half year long draw of the case has given her daughter more pressure both physically and psychologically. "Now my daughter is suffering from mental disorder too.”
Photos from ifeng.com
Zhou Yan, before the accident.