The son of a Chinese hotel owner in Sichuan province plowed his car into a group of Tibetan students last week, killing three and injuring another, following an argument after the students complained of being overcharged in the hotel’s restaurant, sources said.
The Sept. 25 incident in Chagzam (in Chinese, Luding) county in the Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture took place when the students walked out of the hotel after disputing their bill, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“When the students were dining at the restaurant in the hotel, there was a disagreement over the difference between the price of the food that had been quoted earlier and what was actually charged,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“So there was an argument, and the Tibetan students walked out of the hotel,” he said.
“At that time, the son of the hotel’s owner followed the four Tibetan students and hit them with his car.”
Three students, all girls, were killed on the spot, and the fourth was left seriously hurt, the source said.
All four had come from the Gyalmo Tsawa Rong area of Kardze’s Rongtrag (Danba) county and were staying in the hotel while they visited Chagzam to sit for entrance examinations for government jobs, RFA’s source said.
The identities of the four students were not immediately available.
Police blame students
After conducting an investigation, local police blamed the incident on the Tibetan students, the source said, adding, “They did not believe the description of events given by the surviving student, and leaned more on a story given by the owner of the hotel.”
Upset by the police handling of the affair, family members of the dead students stood next day in silent protest with placards and photos of the girls in front of local government offices, demanding justice, the source said.
“When family members asked for the girls’ bodies to be returned to them, they found that the police had already cremated their remains,” he said.
A police report issued at a Sept. 26 public meeting contained details contradicting witness accounts, a Tibetan living in exile told RFA, citing local sources.
“Much of what was recorded was not correct,” he said. “For example, the injured student said that a second person had been present in the car when the students were struck and killed.”
“But the police report did not mention this,” he said.
Reported by Yangdon Demo and Lhuboom for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.