Authorities in the northeastern Chinese city of Harbin arrested a man on Monday for allegedly fatally stabbing a coronavirus control worker last week.
The Harbin prosecutor general’s office approved the arrest of Chen Chenglong, “who is suspected of committing intentional homicide in the murder of an epidemic control volunteer on February 3,” China’s state-run Global Times reported on February 8.
Harbin government officials have tightened restrictions on movement and launched mass testing drives amid a recent upsurge in the number of new daily coronavirus cases recorded locally. Epidemic control volunteer Zhang Libin, 42, was posted as a gatekeeper at a Harbin residential complex last Wednesday when he attempted to stop Chen from leaving the community.
“He was on duty with another man when Chen approached and said he needed to leave the community to dispose of his rubbish,” the Beijing News reported.
“Zhang refused to allow Chen to leave and offered to dispose of the rubbish for him. Chen then took out a knife and stabbed him,” a volunteer infection control worker in Harbin was quoted as saying.
Zhang died from his stab wounds on the way to a local hospital, according to a statement from the Harbin police bureau. Chen initially fled the crime scene but was later found and detained by municipal police.
The February 3 stabbing in Harbin occurred just ten days after a man in the village of Qinhuangdao, located in northern Hebei province, killed an epidemic control worker on January 24 after he was asked to undergo Chinese coronavirus testing, local criminal prosecutors said.
“The villager, who fled but was later detained, refused the check-up and became so angry that he knocked down the worker with his vehicle,” the South China Morning Post reported.
“China has been taking strict measures to crack down on illegal behaviors related to epidemic control,” the Global Times noted on Monday.
“More than 7,200 people across the country have been arrested for related crimes and over 11,200 people prosecuted” since China’s first documented coronavirus outbreak in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate of China said on February 2.
Government authorities in Hebei, which surrounds China’s national capital, Beijing, locked down 11 million people across the province at the start of the new year amid a regional upsurge in new coronavirus cases, which included neighboring Shanxi province. Chinese health authorities also sealed off 150 residential communities across Hong Kong — home to nearly 10,000 residents — and major hospitals in Shanghai in January after documenting fresh outbreaks of coronavirus in the cities.