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China police arrest 13 after villagers storm government office

Over a dozen people have been taken into police custody after they, along with dozens of others, stormed into a government building. The mob was protesting the officials' inability to investigate a young woman's death.

Police in China's southern Shuangfeng County in Hunan province arrested 13 people accused of detaining officials and storming a police station and a government building in a dispute regarding a young woman's death.

The victim, Cao Hui, was 28 years old and died of pesticide poisoining, according to official records. Her family believe that Cao's husband could have been responsible for her death.

On Thursday, the victim's family members and supporters attacked and detained government officials who had come to the morgue to gather evidence. Relatives hit them with bricks and beer bottles and forced them to kneel in the mourning for Cao's death. More than 150 policemen were deployed to secure the government officials' release. They were finally set free on Thursday afternoon.

Violence broke out later the same day after hundreds of residents attacked the local police station and prevented policemen from leaving. The mob threw rocks and stones at officers who tried to leave the area on Friday. Around 900 policemen were deployed on Friday. Thirteen people arrested despite protesters setting up road blocks and stopping police vehicles.

The incident was triggered by the death of 28-year-old Cao Hui on June 8. Official tests indicated Cao had died of pesticide poisoning, a common method of suicide in China. Her relatives, however, were skeptical and wanted to find out whether her husband had a role to play in her demise.

Cao's family was also believed to have beaten up her husband and moved her body to her mother-in-law's home where they smashed furniture.

The unrest was being seen as a sign of growing mistrust with the police and judicial system in China, which is increasingly unable to properly investigate and handle disputes.

mg/sgb (AP,Reuters)

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