The chairman of a Chinese aerospace investment firm has been detained by Beijing police for allegedly attacking two academics, one of them in her 80s.
Police took Zhang Tao into custody a month after the alleged assault on June 6, with no charges brought so far.
A Chinese criminal defence lawyer said police needed to fully explain the reason for the delay in the arrest.
Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team.In a notice about the detention issued on Monday evening, police alleged that China Aerospace Investment Holdings chairman Zhang, 57, assaulted Wang Jinnian, a 54-year-old scientist, during an argument outside Wang’s home.
The police also said 85-year-old scientist Wu Meirong was injured when she tried to intervene during an earlier argument between the two men.
Both Wang and Wu are members of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), an international non-governmental organisation based in Stockholm. Wu is also on the IAA’s board of trustees.
On Monday the police did not explain the reason for the alleged quarrel but Chinese state media have previously reported that it was related to IAA membership.
Chinese state media names ‘two-faced’ Xinjiang officials
According to a China News Weekly report on Saturday, Zhang had asked the two scientists for a recommendation required for his IAA membership application but his request was declined.
Monday’s police notice said Wang filed a complaint on June 12, six days after the alleged attack. Wang went to two Beijing hospitals, the notice said, and was diagnosed with broken ribs and multiple bruises. Doctors had different opinions about his alleged injuries which made it difficult for police to carry out a formal injury evaluation sooner. Wu is said to have been treated for a fractured spine, according to China News Weekly.
Wang had a follow-up consultation on Monday. Based on that, police then detained Zhang.
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