A man in south-eastern China's Yunan province was sentenced to death on Sunday (March 1) for fatally stabbing two officers at a coronavirus checkpoint in early February. It was his second serious crime.
Details of the incident
Twenty-three-year old Ma Jianguo was traveling with another passenger, when they were stopped at a road-block meant to restrict people from traveling in order to curb the novel coronavirus disease from spreading on Feb 6.
The passenger got out of the car to remove the road-block so that the car could pass through. County official Zhang Guizhou started filming the incident after the two refused to comply with government order. Ma suddenly pulled out his pocket knife and stabbed Zhang several times in his chest.
Another officer Li Guomin, who came to Zhang's aid, was fatally stabbed, as well. Both officers succumbed to their stab injuries.
Ma turned himself in after the incident.
While pronouncing its judgement, the court said: "Ma ignored national laws when Yunnan was at the most critical stage of a public health emergency. [He] ignored virus control policies, leading to the serious consequence of the lives of two people being taken away. Such behavior is considered intentional murder," the South China Morning Post reported.
Ma was earlier charged with assault and this was his second serious offence in five years, prompting the court to hand him the death penalty.
Widespread travel restrictions
The Chinese mainland has reported 80,026 cases and 2,912 fatalities due to coronavirus, officially called Covid-19, infection. With cases mounting at a rapid pace, the government imposed widespread travel restrictions in order to curb the virus from spreading.
The disease has spread to over 45 countries in every continent except the Antarctica, with 8,903 cases and 132 fatalities reported, outside mainland China.