WARNING: Confronting content.
Dozens of Chinese citizens have been charged in connection with a streak of gang crime while investigators work to determine if corrupt officials illegally used their power to cover them up.
A group of 28 people have been charged, including several men who featured in graphic footage beating up women inside a barbecue restaurant in northern China in early June.
Nine men were arrested following the incident, which involved a man putting his arm on a woman’s back and her responding by pushing him away.
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The man then slapped her across the face with other men then helping drag the woman outside by her hair before she was punched, kicked and stomped on as she lay on the ground.
State broadcaster CCTV reported the 28 men were charged on Friday (local time) with 11 offences including opening casinos, robbery, assisting in cybercrime activities, picking quarrels and provoking trouble, ABC News reported.
Two women attacked at the barbecue restaurant spent at least 11 days in hospital while others suffered minor injuries.
Their attackers have since been accused of being connected to a wider gang network whose crimes have been dealt with slowly, sparking concerns of police corruption.
Authorities from the Hebei Provincial Commission for Discipline Inspection on Monday (local time) revealed 15 officials were being investigated for corruption.
They were suspected of being connected with “evil organisations” including some linked with the men captured in the graphic barbecue restaurant attack.
The accused officials, which included officers from multiple police stations and the director of Tangshan’s public security bureau, were accused of bribery, abuse of power, and other job-related crimes, according to the publication.
Eight have been detained while the investigation runs its course.
During the barbecue restaurant attack, no other diners stepped into help the female victims.
SupChina reports police did little to follow-up the attack until it went viral on social media.
Authorities eventually claimed officers had been “pulling out all the stops” to locate the group of attackers.
Police said one of the suspects surnamed Chen had harassed and beat one of the victims, according to Chinese state-media outlet Global Times.
Chen’s friend allegedly entered the restaurant and helped him drag the woman outside and also beat her dining partners.
The attack instantly went viral on Chinese social media, dominating Weibo’s most-discussed topics after the related hashtag reached more than half a billion people.
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