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Copyright 2014 by Attorney Carlos Gamino
In 2008, Zhao Xiao Cheng hit a 64-year-old grandmother and alternated between drive and reverse to ensure he was dead, and the whole thing was caught on a security camera. A court in Zhejiang Province found him not guilty of intentional homicide, buying his claim that he thought he was driving over a trash bag. The court sentenced Zhao to 3 years in prison for negligence.
So why are motorists hitting to kill rather than jumping from their cars to check on their victims?
If you injure someone while you’re driving, you have to pay for his or her care as long as they live.
If you kill them, you only pay once; the amount typically ranges between $30,000 and $50,000.
It’s a matter of economics.
Many of these hit-to-kill drivers expect to dodge murder charges, too. Although security cameras and cellphone cameras are becoming more prevalent, many local officials are open to bribes – and the victims’ families are left grieving. In some cases, the pedestrians aren’t even seriously injured but are killed by drivers anyway.
In an attempt to curb the number of hit-to-kill deaths, many provinces are reforming their justice codes. Unfortunately, with such light penalties in place (one woman was sentenced to just 2 years in prison after killing a toddler in a fruit market, attempting to bribe the family and proclaiming that it was an accident in court), experts don’t expect the numbers to go down significantly any time soon.
What Do You Think?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on China’s hit-to-kill problem. What can they do about it, and is there any way to keep pedestrians safe from being hit a second time? Let me know what you think on Twitter or on Facebook.
It sounds like something out of a bad horror flick: drivers careen down busy roadways and mow down pedestrians… and then back over them to make sure that they’re dead so they can avoid paying victims’ medical bills.
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