China’s tough measures to curb spread of coronavirus force criminal suspects out of hiding

Sarah Zheng

China’s harsh restrictions and widespread checks aimed at containing the spread of the deadly coronavirus have had an unintended effect – forcing some criminal suspects who had fled their home provinces to turn themselves in.

An official WeChat account run by the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, the ruling Communist Party’s top law enforcement body, on Monday reported the case of a murder suspect who surrendered to police in the central Shanxi province after it became too hard to get around extensive road checks.

The suspect, identified by local media as Ge Jianhua, gave himself up to authorities in the city of Linfen on January 31. Police had stepped up checks at coal mines, construction sites and hotels across the province as the new virus strain, which originated in the Hubei capital Wuhan in December, spread rapidly across the country.

Ge is accused of stabbing one person to death and injuring another in October 2009 in Henan province, but he had evaded police for more than a decade. He has since been transferred from Linfen to police custody in Pingdingshan, in Henan.

China has imposed tight travel restrictions across the country to contain the outbreak, in sometimes draconian measures that have seen people confined to their homes, frequent temperature checks and increased surveillance of individuals’ movements.

The pneumonia-like illness has so far infected more than 40,000 people and killed more than 900 in mainland China, with cases reported in more than 20 other countries worldwide.

Other criminal suspects in China ensnared by the unprecedented measures to curb the outbreak include a man surnamed Fan, who is suspected of running online scams that defrauded victims of 40 million yuan (US$5.7 million) in his native Henan province.

Surveillance footage showed the 38-year-old had fled by bike from Red Bean Gorge in Shanxi to Linfen but was unable to find a place to live, so he turned himself in to police on February 7, The Beijing News reported. Fan has since been transferred to the custody of Henan police.

Mahjong and talking pigs – unusual coronavirus challenges facing authorities

And in Chongqing municipality, in the southwest, a man suspected of drug trafficking also turned himself in on February 7.

He said he had been unable to get around the increased police presence, according to Pear Video. The man was handed over to police in the city of Xichang in Sichuan province.

Sign up now for our 50% early bird offer from SCMP Research: China AI Report. The all new SCMP China AI Report gives you exclusive first-hand insights and analysis into the latest industry developments, and actionable and objective intelligence about China AI that you should be equipped with.

More from South China Morning Post:

This article China’s tough measures to curb spread of coronavirus force criminal suspects out of hiding first appeared on South China Morning Post

For the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.