Tue, April 19, 2011
China > Mainland

Serial rapist appeals his death sentence

2011-04-19 03:23:02 GMT2011-04-19 11:23:02(Beijing Time)  China Daily

Beijing - Dai Qingcheng, the 46-year-old farmer from East China's Anhui province who was sentenced to death in December for raping 116 women between 1993 and 2009, is appealing his conviction.

Dai was found guilty at his first trial of raping, or attempting to rape, the 116 women and robbing 91 of them.

The date on which his appeal will be heard has not yet been made public but has been scheduled, according to the Higher People's Court of Anhui.

Police began their hunt for an attacker in July 2008 after a 49-year-old woman from Linquan county reported that a masked man with a knife had forced his way into her home and attempted to rape her.

Investigators found that the victim's husband and son were both away from home and the woman was alone with her 11-year-old daughter at the time.

"I was very afraid but I realized I had to protect my daughter," she said. "I screamed and some neighbors heard me. The man escaped quickly."

Police investigating the case soon found that such incidents were "not rare" in the area and discovered that many villagers from Dai's hometown, Linquan county in Anhui, and nearby Shenqiu county in Henan province had been attacked.

Most victims were the wives of migrant workers whose husbands were away in cities.

Officers found the attacker usually broke into homes at night and Dai soon emerged as the main suspect.

"But we were surprised when he told us he had raped about 100 women," said Yang Yongkui, a police officer from Linquan police bureau. "The victims he violated ranged from very young girls to women in their 50s and one of them was six-months pregnant."

Many people were shocked when Dai was identified as the main suspect because he looked like an unlikely attacker.

"He is kind of short, introverted and honest-looking and I wouldn't relate him to such atrocities by his appearance," Ming Tian, Dai's lawyer at the first trial, told China Daily.

"He doesn't communicate with people much but he treats his family well and most villagers thought he was a simple and honest guy."

Ming said he doesn't expect a different verdict at the appeal because there is not much new evidence.

One issue that emerged during the investigation is the fact that most of his victims chose to remain silent after they were violated. Many even initially denied they had been raped when they were approached by police.

"In the villages, people are very conservative and any conversation about sex is deemed shameful, even if you are violated, you are ashamed to talk about it," said Chen Wei, a lawyer specializing in women's studies.

"That's the reason why Dai didn't get caught for 17 years. The silence of the women from the shame they felt let him carry on."

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