Monday, 27 February 2012

Mother of girl set on fire vows court action

Despite huge medical bill, family refuses private settlement as online appeal gathers momentum

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Guanyu 道 said...

Mother of girl set on fire vows court action

Despite huge medical bill, family refuses private settlement as online appeal gathers momentum

Choi Chi-yuk
27 February 2012

The mother of a teenage girl in Anhui has vowed to bring a man to court for allegedly setting the girl on fire after she refused his advances, but the decision not settle out of court may mean the girl’s parents have to pay millions of yuan in medical fees.

The family turned to the internet on Friday to garner support for their case and help for their daughter.

“I’ve been told by a medical expert in Shanghai that my daughter’s treatment will cost us up to 4 million yuan, but we won’t settle the case privately, regardless how much they offer to pay us,” Li Cong was quoted as saying by, a video and news website based in the provincial capital Hefei .

Zhou Yan , 17, suffered severe burns on 30 per cent of her body, including her head, neck, hands and legs. Her left ear was mutilated and her face was disfigured when Tao Rukun allegedly broke into her house on September 17, doused her in kerosene and set her on fire.

The girl remained in critical condition for seven days while receiving treatment at a local hospital.

The Beijing Morning Post reported yesterday that Tao once attended junior middle school with Zhou.

Footage in a video story by the website’s reporters showed that Zhou was still wrapped in bandages and bedridden at home, five months after the attack.

When asked why she resorted to the internet months after her daughter was burned, Li told the South China Morning Post yesterday that Tao’s parents had stopped paying for the girl’s treatment, leaving her family with more than 100,000 yuan (HK$122,600) in unpaid medical bills.

She said Tao’s parents stopped paying because she refused to admit that he helped save Zhou before turning himself in to police.

“Their son did nothing but cross his arms and stand aside while my daughter was writhing in agony,” Li said, adding: “It was my sister who put out the fire on my daughter with a quilt and reported it to police.”

Zhou’s plight has drawn thousands of online comments and intense debate since Li posted details on her Sina microblog on Friday.

Li said yesterday that many kind-hearted people from across the country had offered them a hand. “Some of them have deposited money in our accounts. Others have simply come and paid us cash over the past couple of days.” She said the family had been keeping a record of the names of donors and how much they had given.

Zhou’s mother said the family had been forced to spend at least 1,300 yuan a day to treat their daughter since she was discharged from hospital as the bills mounted, according to Li Zhixian , Zhou’s lawyer. The lawyer also noted that police in Hefei had refused to write up an injury report for Zhou’s case until Friday.

Police issued a statement online on Friday evening, saying they had not conducted an injury assessment for Zhou until that day because her condition was too unstable for a check-up. The police also vowed to make the report public and to handle the case based on the facts.