Chinese dungeon rapist gets death

2011-02-01 14:00

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Beijing - A court in central China has sentenced to death a 40-year-old man who kidnapped two teenage girls, beating and raping them for months while they were held in an underground cell, state media said Tuesday.

Zeng Qiangbao, who worked in a steel factory in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, was convicted on Sunday of rape, illegal imprisonment, robbery and forcible seizure, the China Daily reported.

One girl, who was 16 when she was abducted, was held for nearly two years, while the other, 19 at the time, was imprisoned for 10 months, the report said.

"Zeng, who devastated the physical and psychological health of the girls and exerted an extremely negative influence on society, should be severely punished," the court said in its verdict.

Psychiatric evaluation

Zeng has vowed to appeal against the death sentence and said he would ask for a psychiatric evaluation to determine whether he could be held responsible for his actions.

In September 2008, Zeng kidnapped the 16-year-old girl. He abducted the second in July 2009.

The pair were found in May 2010, naked except for shackles on their feet, in a secret dungeon Zeng had built under his home, after they smuggled out a plea for help with a map and the phone number of one of the girls' parents.

The girls had smuggled out such notes on many occasions, usually hidden in the rubbish of the instant noodles that they were fed by Zeng.

Shocking tales of sex abuse

The home of the 19-year-old, surnamed Zhou, was just 200m from where she was held. Zeng was also convicted of raping nine other women between July 2007 and May 2010.

The case recalled a number of other shocking tales of sex slavery and secret underground dungeons that have made headlines in recent years.

Austria's Josef Fritzl, who held his daughter Elisabeth as a sex slave in a cramped windowless dungeon for 24 years, was jailed for life on rape and murder charges in March 2009.

Also in Austria, Natascha Kampusch was kidnapped at the age of 10 and held captive in a tiny cellar for eight and a half years until she escaped in August 2006.

She was severely beaten but has never confirmed any sexual abuse.
 

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