[New Tang Dynasty News, Beijing time, November 14, 2023]After the case of privately building a pontoon bridge in Taonan, Jilin, attracted widespread attention from the outside world, the case was given the opportunity to be reiterated, and the second trial was held a few days ago. The prosecutor still insists on charging the main defendant Huang Deyi with the crime of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” The defendant’s lawyer defended his innocence. Whether Huang Deyi and others used force to destroy the river was the focus of the trial.
Prosecutors insist on charging Huang Deyi with “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”
At 9 a.m. on Monday (November 13), the case of Huang Deyi, a villager in Zhenlin Village, Wafang Town, Taonan City, Baicheng City, Jilin Province, and his relatives privately built a pontoon bridge was retried in the Baicheng Intermediate Court of Jilin Province. In this trial, the prosecutor suggested in court that some of the defendants in the case should be acquitted and that other defendants should be convicted and exempted from punishment. However, they still insisted on charging Huang Deyi with the crime of provoking trouble. Huang Deyi’s attorney A not guilty plea was entered.
Someone who participated in the trial disclosed to the media that the public security agency submitted some additional witness statements during this trial, adding that the defendant was accused of “destroying the river course.” However, attorney Huang Deyi questioned the legality of these evidences in court and pointed out that these supplementary testimonies could not corroborate each other. Huang Deyi himself insisted on denying that he had damaged the river course during the trial.
The defendant’s lawyer also specifically pointed out that the original indictment and judgment did not mention the issue of damaging the river course, and that the police’s submission of additional evidence now goes beyond the scope of the original trial.
At the same time, Huang Deyi’s lawyer also submitted 22 transcripts to the court, which contained comments from villagers on both sides of the river where the Huang family built the pontoon bridge, taxi drivers, freight drivers and others about the defendant and the bridge he built. In the transcript, many villagers said that paying a fee to cross the bridge was voluntary, and crossing the river through the pontoon bridge could indeed save a lot of time.
The trial ended at around 5 pm that day, but the court did not pronounce the verdict in court.
The retrial of the floating bridge case focuses on whether the defendant took possession of the river by force and destroyed the river channel
Previously, Huang Deyi’s family funded a private pontoon bridge to facilitate local people to travel between the two sides of the river. From 2014 to 2018, they charged people crossing the bridge a fee of 5 yuan for a small car and 10 yuan for a large car, with a total toll of 52,950 yuan. This move was deemed a crime by the public security organs, and on December 31, 2019, the first-instance judgment of the Taonan City Court found that 18 people involved in the Huang family were guilty of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” Huang Deyi was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for two years. The other 17 people were sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment and suspended sentences.
After the first-instance verdict was announced, Huang Deyi and other 18 defendants in the original trial did not appeal in time, and the verdict became legally effective. Afterwards, Huang Deyi refused to accept the verdict and filed a complaint with the Taonan City Court in Jilin Province, which was dismissed in March 2023. In June 2023, he once again filed a complaint with the Baicheng Intermediate Court.
This incident was reported by the media and aroused widespread public attention. Under pressure from public opinion, the Intermediate Court of Baicheng City, Jilin Province made a decision to retry the case in September.
According to reports from many Chinese media, in the second instance court, the focus of the argument between the prosecution and the defense was whether Huang Deyi’s family engaged in “forced extortion” and damage to the river during the toll collection process.
In fact, as early as July this year, after the case attracted widespread public attention, many Chinese media interviewed local people on the spot regarding the above-mentioned issues. The villagers interviewed almost unanimously stated that the Huang family did not force fees and paid all fees. It depends on the villagers’ free will.
For example: A villager named Zhang from An’an Village told Red Star News during an interview that after Huang Deyi built the pontoon bridge, it was much more convenient for villagers to farm on the other side of the river. It only took ten minutes to reach the fields. Later, the officials forcibly removed the pontoon bridge. Later, villagers had to make a detour of about 70 kilometers to farm on the other side. It took more than three hours to drive a farm vehicle. “You can’t even afford gas money,” so the villagers voluntarily paid a toll to cross the river from the pontoon.
When interviewed, a villager from Zhenlin Village told Jimu News that for the sake of the fellow villagers, some villagers did not pay for crossing the bridge. Huang Deyi’s family didn’t pay. She herself never paid.
A villager in An’an Village said that Huang Deyi and his family are basically responsible for maintaining the floating bridge. Occasionally, when outsiders cross the bridge, they cannot understand the toll and have disputes. Some passers-by will pay after understanding the reason. Money, some people insist not to give money to the Huang family.
Local villagers told the media that Huang Deyi’s family paid for the pontoon at a cost and provided convenience to everyone. “We can’t let people serve for nothing.” I gave him three to five yuan.” “He didn’t ask for money when I walked back and forth, but I would be embarrassed and accidentally gave him money.” “This is because someone is greedy and is completely unbalanced in his heart to complain. I didn’t complain. I’ve never seen him force anyone to ask for money, I’ll tell you the truth.”
As for the question of whether the Huang family dug the river channel to force the villagers to walk on the pontoon bridge, local villagers had different opinions.
Huang Deyi himself insisted in an interview with Chinese media that his family had never dug up rivers. He said, “This is the work of the sand mining factory on the east bank of the river, not mine.”
A reporter from Dahe News went to the river for on-site observation and found that there was indeed a sand mining factory on the other side of the Zhenlin Village section of the Taoer River, but the sand mining factory was closed at the time.
(Comprehensive reporting by reporter He Yating/Editor in charge: Lin Qing)