A police official in China has been fired days after authorities came under fire for the delayed response to a shocking attack on women at a restaurant.
Captured on surveillance camera, footage of the attack and images of a woman lying on a stretcher went viral online, sparking widespread public outrage about gender violence in the country.
The Hebei province’s public security department has since confirmed that it has launched an investigation into the slow response by police.
The video, captured at 2.40am on 10 June, showed a man approaching a group of four women having dinner at a barbeque restaurant before he placed his hand on one of their backs.
She dismissed the man a number of times, sending him into a rage before he slapped her. The woman fought back, triggering a brawl.
A group of men entered the restaurant and began attacking the woman and her dining partners, including shoving them to the ground, kicking them and throwing a chair at them.
More footage taken outside the restaurant appeared to show the attackers dragging the woman who had rebuffed the man’s advances out of the restaurant and beating her violently while passersby and patrons looked on.
One had a bloodied and swollen face as she was taken away on a stretcher.
While police have since arrested nine suspects, the authorities are also under fire for their delayed response.
Police arrived at the scene 28 minutes after they received the report, and the injured women had already been sent to the hospital by the time they arrived, provincial authorities said in a statement.
The deputy chief of the Tangshan police Lubei branch, which was responsible for the initial handling of the case, has been removed from office, said the statement, which did not elaborate further.
Investigation into the case has also been transferred to the police in another jurisdiction, the city of Langfang, which is also in Hebei province.
The Hebei province anti-corruption body said on Tuesday that five police officers are under investigation, including the chief of the Lubei branch in Tangshan, and at least two others from a police station under the Lubei branch.
Meanwhile, two of the four women remain in hospital, said Hebei public security, adding that their conditions were improving and they have sustained “second-degree light injuries”.
The other two women were slightly injured and not hospitalised.
Additional reporting from the wires