12 Sep 2009

Three jailed over Chinese syringe attacks

8:50 pm on 12 September 2009

A court in China has handed lengthy prison terms to three people over a spate of needle attacks which have provoked big protests by Han Chinese against local Uighurs in the Xinjiang region.

The Government has said the attacks were part of a campaign by Uighur separatists.

The BBC is quoting Chinese state television as saying Yilipan Yilihamu, 19, was jailed by the court in Urumqi for 15 years.

Reports in the Chinese media earlier said he had been arrested on 28 August, four hours after a woman reported to police she had been attacked at a roadside fruit stall.

He was said to have confessed to officers that he had stabbed her buttock with a pin.

In the other case, a 34-year-old man was jailed for 10 years and a 22-year-old woman for seven years, after they threatened a taxi driver with a syringe and robbed him of about $US100.

The BBC says the syringe attacks have raised tension in a long-standing conflict between the Uighur and Han communities.