A Chinese court handed down death sentences to four people over killing of coal miners in a plot to seek compensation from the owner, the Associated Press (AP) reported Thursday. Five other people were given jail terms for being accomplices in the crime.
The four accused were convicted of fatally beating three miners with clubs and hammers from 2009 to 2011, Wang Jiyuan, chief justice of the Intermediate Court in the northern Shanxi province city of Yangquan, told the AP. They reportedly hired people and disguised them as family members of the deceased miners to collect compensation from the mine owner.
Wu Youxin, who planned the plot, was slapped with a fine of 80,000 yuan ($12,503) along with the death sentence, Xinhua News Agency reported. All the convicts have appealed the court’s decision.
China witnessed similar crimes based on the plot of the 2003 Chinese movie “Blind Shaft,” which won the Silver Bear prize at the Berlin Film Festival. In July, a court in northern China maintained the death sentences for five people who were convicted of killing four miners and disguising their deaths as accidents at coal mines to claim compensation.