Parents of boy who killed 10-year-old neighbour after trying to have sex with her ordered to pay 1m yuan in China

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The parents of a 13-year-old boy who killed a 10-year-old neighbour girl last year were ordered to pay 1.29 million yuan (S$255,000) in compensation on Monday (Aug 10) in Dalian, Liaoning province.

After the Dalian Shahekou District People's Court handed down its decision on Monday, Ms He Meiling, the mother of the victim, told Shanghai-based media Knews that she does not want to spend much time and energy on civil litigation and will continue to push for criminal punishment of the killer.

In addition to compensation for the girl's parents, the court ordered the boy's parents to publish an apology to the girl's family within 10 days in provincial-level print media in Liaoning province.

Mr Tian Canjun, the mother's lawyer, said that he personally found the civil award acceptable and does not recommend an appeal. But there are concerns about enforcement, he said.

The boy, surnamed Cai, who was 13 at the time, killed the girl and hid her body in the bushes near his home on Oct 20, 2019.

Previous reports said that the boy took the girl, who was returning home alone from a painting class, to his home and tried to have sex with her. The girl refused and was stabbed seven times. She was also found with ligature marks.

The Dalian Public Security Bureau released a statement four days later that Cai had admitted to killing the girl. Since Cai was under 14 years old, he was not subject to criminal responsibility under the law. Instead, he was sent for re-education, the police said.

Sources from the local police told Chinese news website thePaper.cn three days later that the boy would be detained for three years, and it was determined that his parents were not involved nor covered up for him.

The girl's mother said on Monday that even after nine months, no member of the boy's family had apologised for what happened.

The case has sparked heated debate online. Many netizens expressed their wishes for the killer to bear severe criminal responsibility. Some expressed their worries about someone taking advantage of the Criminal Law's age restriction and committing a crime intentionally.

"A legally prescribed punishment for a specified crime is a basic principle of our Criminal Law. We cannot break it," said Mr Zhu Zuowen, a lawyer with Beijing Century Law Firm's branch in Dalian.

"However, if we can modify and improve the law, such as lowering the age of criminal responsibility, we can largely avoid such tragedies," he said.