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Human trafficker appeals death sentence

By Yang Zekun | China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-29 09:40

Yang Niuhua (right), a victim of child trafficking, is interviewed by the media outside a court in Guiyang, Guizhou province, on Tuesday. Yu Huaying's appeal against her death sentence for human trafficking was held at Guizhou Provincial High People's Court. ZHAO HUI/FOR CHINA DAILY

High-profile human trafficker Yu Huaying appealed for leniency in sentencing for the abduction of 11 children in the 1990s, as she pleaded guilty during her second trial for the crime held by the High People's Court of Guizhou province on Tuesday.

Yu, her defense lawyer and prosecutors expressed their opinions on the facts of the case and sentencing, she also gave a final statement to the court. The court will issue its verdict at a later date.

The second trial followed Yu's appeal against the death sentence handed down by the Guiyang Intermediate People's Court, Guizhou province, in September.

Yu, from Yunnan province, was found guilty of abducting and selling 11 children from Chongqing and Guizhou between 1993 and 1996, and her actions constituted the crime of child abduction, according to the Guiyang court.

She carried out the abductions with a man surnamed Gong, who died during the course of the case. Two other individuals, surnamed Wang and Yang, who participated in the abductions, have been dealt with in separate cases, the court stated.

Despite Yu confessing to her crimes after being arrested, the court imposed the death penalty on her, deprived her of political rights for life, and confiscated all her personal assets. This sentence was justified due to the large number of children abducted, and the offenses were deemed extremely serious, having a significant negative impact on society, the Guiyang court said.

During the appeal trial, Yu did not contest the facts found in the first instance that she abducted 11 children, and she pleaded guilty in court. However, she only appealed what she said was an excessive sentence.

Yu's defense lawyer argued that she had confessed and believed the sentence was too harsh, suggesting a lighter punishment.

However, the procurators argued that the sentencing in the first instance was appropriate, with clear facts, sufficient evidence and lawful procedures. Therefore, Yu's reasons for appeal could not be justified. Procurators recommended the court reject the appeal and uphold the original judgment.

Yu had previously been sentenced to eight years in prison by the Dayao County People's Court in Yunnan province for abducting and trafficking two children in 2004, though she used a false name "Zhang Yun". She was released in 2009 after her sentence was commuted.

Her husband, Wang Jiawen, a Chongqing native, has recently been captured by police, according to ThePaper.cn, a Shanghai-based news outlet. Wang also participated in the abduction of the two children in 2004. After being captured, he used the false name "Wang Wei "and served eight years in prison.

Yu's case gained public attention in June last year when 33-year-old Yang Niuhua reported to the police in Guiyang that she had been abducted as a child. She was kidnapped by Yu in Guizhou and sold in Hebei province in 1995 for 3,500 yuan ($480).

Yang had been searching for her original family over the years and shared her story on the short-video platform Duoyin, where she was noticed by possible family members in April 2021. One month later, she had a successful DNA match and was reunited with her family.

In June last year, Yang provided clues about her abduction to Guiyang police, leading to Yu's capture in Chongqing. Yu was prosecuted in February, and the Guiyang court heard her case in July.

Cao Yin contributed to this story.

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