Family of dead worker decides not to sue city

Updated 2018-02-02 10:12:02 China Daily

The family of a worker who fell to his death while installing a billboard-after urban patrol officers removed his ladder-has no plans to sue the city government, a source close to the matter said.

Ou Xiangbin, 30, died on Jan. 23 after plummeting from the roof of a three-story building in Zhengzhou, Henan province, where he and his colleague Zhou Zhixiong had just set up a billboard.

Before the tragedy, urban patrol officers-better known as chengguan-had spotted the structure and ordered the two men to take it down, as it was unauthorized. They also took away the workers' ladder and tricycle.

Zhou was quoted by Beijing News as saying Ou couldn't stand the cold on the roof and attempted to climb down using a rope, but he fell to the ground. He died later in hospital.

Hu Shengshu, head of Kouqian village, where Ou is from, told China Daily he represented the dead man's family during negotiations with authorities. He said that as of Thursday they had received 1 million yuan (9,000) in compensation.

The city's urban management bureau reportedly paid 700,000 yuan, while the company that placed the billboard order contributed 100,000 yuan. Hu said Ou's employer, Liu Qin, who runs a printing and advertising shop, has given about half of the 430,000 yuan he is expected to pay the family.

Liu, who was detained on Jan 26 on suspicion of causing a serious accident through negligence, was released on bail on Wednesday after reaching an agreement with Ou's family, according to a source with Zhengzhou police.

The urban patrol officers involved in the incident have been dismissed and were handed over to the discipline inspection commission on Jan 26 on suspicion of misconduct.

"The compensation was organized by the city inspectors and they thought they should be mainly responsible for Ou's death so they took on the majority of compensation," Hu said.

China Daily was unable to reach the victim's family and city inspectors.

There have been ongoing debates about who was to blame.

Zhao Li, a lawyer at Beijing-based Capital Equity Legal Group, thought Ou himself should be responsible, while the urban patrol officers' behaviors were indirect factors.

"Ou should have known the risks of lowering himself to the ground with a rope, and there are other methods to go down," said Zhao, "and the employer's shop should be held criminally liable for not providing enough safety training and equipment, which indirectly caused a severe result," he said.

Wang Fei, a lawyer of Trueway Law Firm in Beijing, told Legal Evening News that the patrol officers should take the major responsibility because they arbitrarily took the ladder away, which resulted in the accident, even though the workers weren't resisting their law-enforcement actions.

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