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China detains general's son for assault: Xinhua

China has detained the 15-year-old son of a well-known general for beating a couple while their young child looked on in an incident that sparked public outrage, the state Xinhua news agency said.

world Updated: Sep 16, 2011 12:04 IST

China has detained the 15-year-old son of a well-known general for beating a couple while their young child looked on in an incident that sparked public outrage, the state Xinhua news agency said.

The move came after hundreds of thousands of people went online to express their outrage at the actions of Li Tianyi, the latest in a series of scandals involving the children of high-ranking Chinese officials.

Li, the son of General Li Shuangjiang who is a popular singer and a household name in China, was "found to have physically assaulted a couple and damaged their car" on September 6, Xinhua said late Thursday, citing police.

Beijing police declined to comment when contacted by AFP.

Li was sent to a government correctional facility for one year after confessing under police interrogation, the report said, adding that the boy's father had offered compensation to the couple.

A lawyer earlier told the English-language Global Times that Li would not be charged because he was not yet 16.

Children under that age cannot be tried in Chinese courts and are instead detained in correctional facilities for minors for up to three years at the government's discretion.

The case recalls a 2010 scandal in which a senior police officer's son tried to use his father's status to evade punishment for a deadly car accident he had caused.

Twenty-two-year-old Li Qiming ran over a student in the northern province of Hebei, famously shouting: "Sue me if you dare. My father is Li Gang!". He was later sentenced to six years in prison.

Both Li Qiming and Li Tianyi have quickly become targets of public disdain as members of the "fu er dai," or "rich second generation."

Li, who at 15 is too young to get a driving licence in China, had been driving a customised BMW just before the incident occurred.

Witnesses said that he and an older accomplice beat a couple for three minutes in what appeared to be an act of road rage while their five-year-old son looked on.

"A 15-year-old can drive a car without a licence and display outright arrogance in public just because his father is Li Shuangjiang?" one blogger using the screen name "tiangang" wrote.

General Li, 72, who built his reputation singing popular patriotic songs, was mocked by Internet users who posted the lyrics of "Red Star Guides Me To Fight," in an apparent reference to the incident.