A former Didi driver who robbed and murdered a Shenzhen teacher on May 2, 2016 was sentenced to death by the Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court on December 11. The man, named Pan Tujin, was also deprived of his political rights and had his personal property confiscated.
The teacher, surnamed Zhong, was on her way to Shajing in Bao’an District, when the attack took place. The driver, who was operating using a fake license plate, drove Zhong to a remote area and forced her to transfer RMB7,000 to his WeChat and Alipay accounts.
During the robbery, a police car drove past and the woman called out for help, according to Shenzhen Daily. Pan stabbed her in the neck repeatedly to stop her from screaming out. He later dumped the body in a clump of bushes on Tongle Lu.
After the attack the police were able to track the driver using a picture Zhong had taken of the car’s license plate and sent to her husband before entering the taxi. They later located Pan’s car, and found that the driver was carrying drugs, a fruit knife and masks, while the registration number on the car was also found to be a duplicate bought in Zhuhai, and not registered under his Didi profile.
Just 12 hours later, police were able to find Pan in a rental apartment. He later admitted to committing the crimes.
Screengrab via Netease News
According to Xi’an Network News, the trial initially had to be delayed in March of 2017 because the driver was too distressed to speak in court. The court reopened the case in November of last year, after Pan underwent a psychiatric test, which showed that he was not suffering from any mental illness. He stayed silent in court throughout the trial.
This horrific death went a long way to highlight issues with the ride-hailing app’s background check mechanism at the time. The company has since struggled to escape controversy, with a spate of deaths coming this year. The company also underwent a restructuring at the corporate level following the deaths of two female passengers earlier in 2018, while introducing a number of safety measures throughout the year, as they seek to heal their public image.
[Cover image via Unsplash]