A man detained for stealing hanged himself in a police interrogation room early Saturday morning, according to Kunming police. The death is the most recent instance in which detainees have died under questionable circumstances in police custody, according to a China Daily report.
Xing Kun (邢鲲), 29, had been arrested on Friday for allegedly stealing Sony PlayStation Portable game units reportedly worth 50,000 yuan (US$7,300). Police said he was put into an interrogation room at 4 am on Saturday where he reportedly confessed to stealing the machines and was found dead less than four hours later.
Kunming Municipal Public Security Bureau spokesman Yao Zhihong denied any police misconduct, telling reporters "Xing was healthy before going into the interrogation waiting room. He went through some emotional changes during the interrogation, but no torture was used."
According to police, the video camera in the interrogation room in which Xing allegedly died does not show him hanging himself because he was out of the camera's range.
Police originally told Xing's family that he hanged himself with a shoelace, according to a Dushi Shibao report, later saying that he used a strip of cloth to hang himself.
A male relative of Xing's surnamed You also told Dushi Shibao that upon seeing Xing's corpse, it appeared that he had sustained injuries to his temples, throat, the backs of his hands and his fingernails.
Yao seemed to tacitly acknowledge the possibility that foul play may be involved.
"We won't try to cover up anything if any official is found responsible for this," he said.
Prior to his recent arrest and death, Xing had been convicted of theft four times between 1996 and 2008, police said.
Xing's death is the third high-profile detainee death in Kunming in the last year. In February, the death of 24-year-old Li Qiaoming drew nationwide attention when Jinning police said he died while playing "elude the cat", a Chinese version of hide and seek.
Another detainee, 43-year-old Wang Shikun, died in Kunming police custody in August after catching a cold.
Provincial security officials are currently investigating Xing Kun's death, according to China Daily.© Copyright 2005-2019 GoKunming.com all rights reserved. This material may not be republished, rewritten or redistributed without permission.