BEIJING - A high-ranking military singer, whose 15-year-old son brutally attacked a couple in their car, apologized to the victims in a hospital in Beijing on Thursday and said he takes full responsibility.
"I am a teacher and it's my fault for failing to educate my son to behave well," said Li Shuangjiang, 72, dean of the music department of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Academy of Arts, when he visited the seriously injured couple in the emergency ward at the 309th Hospital of Chinese PLA in Haidian district.
Li Tianyi, the singer's son, was driving a BMW behind the couple's Buick at about 9 pm on Tuesday evening, when it suddenly stopped.
Li got out of his car and attacked the driver, surnamed Peng, without a word of explanation. Li's friend surnamed Su, who had been following in another car, joined in. Peng's wife tried to stop them and was also beaten, despite the fact the couple's 5-year-old daughter was crying in the back. The attackers even shouted at by-standers warning them not to call the police.
The two youths tried to escape afterwards but the police arrived and detained them with the help of guards. Peng and his wife were sent to hospital with head injuries.
Li and Su are now in custody and the case is being investigated, according to the Beijing municipal public security bureau.
Li Shuangjiang promised Peng during their brief meeting at hospital that his son will be punished according to the law and he will compensate the couple.
Peng accepted the apology and replied that it was not the father's fault although the son beat him "all of a sudden".
"Your son is a boy no more than 15 years old, and everyone might do wrong things while young," said Peng's wife. "When we were young, we also did wrong things."
However, netizens were less forgiving. Many of the netizens said Li was breaking the law as he was too young to have a license.
The incident was compared by netizens with a hit-and-run case in which Li Qiming, the son of Li Gang, deputy director of the public security bureau of Beishi district of Baoding city, Hebei province, ran over two students in a campus in October 2010, killing one and injuring the other.
"My father is Li Gang," Li Qiming shouted when he was stopped by other students. The soundbite has now become synonymous with privilege and arrogance.
Cheng Shuying contributed to this story.