The death of a villager in Shaanxi Province, who was allegedly run over by a truck that was attempting to dump construction rubble on his village's farmland, is being investigated by local police.
Witnesses said Hu Long, 25, died on October 2, when he and six other villagers tried to stop more than 10 dump trucks from running over a crop of kiwifruit collectively owned by the Zhaodai village in Xi'an, capital of the province.
Local police said the case is under investigation but refused to provide additional details including the identity of the truck drivers.
A photocopied excerpt of the news report posted online by the Xi'an-based Chinese Business View was deleted as of Monday.
"There were more than 10 trucks carrying loads of construction rubble and an SUV. We tried to block the trucks, but the men in the SUV dragged us away and threatened to run over whoever dared to try to stop them," Hu Laishi, Hu Long's uncle, told the Global Times.
Hu said his nephew stood his ground and one of the trucks knocked him down and ran him over.
"Hundreds of villagers later came out to protest," Hu added.
"We managed to intercept two trucks and the SUV, but the other trucks fled the scene. The driver who hit my nephew said he did not see him standing in front of his truck," he said.
Hu's coffin was placed near the site where he was killed; a nearby deep pit was filled with loads of rubble, the Chinese Business View reported Sunday.
A source told the Global Times that construction companies around Xi'an often illegally dump waste in rural areas to avoid paying processing fees.
"If a company bribes village officials, it can dump the waste on farmland at an extremely low cost," he said.
The dead man's uncle said he knows the men who attacked his village.
"The men in the SUV are from a neighboring village, and they might have had a connection with some construction companies. They often come to our place to steal our reserve of gravel for construction," Hu told the Global Times Monday.
Hu said the neighboring villagers could have been seeking revenge by arranging for the trucks to dump their loads on his village's farmland.
"We are waiting for the results of the investigation," Hu said, "and we have contacted a lawyer."
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