Criminal Law: Two men arrested over Chinese toddler hit-and-run

Criminal Law: Two men arrested over Chinese toddler hit-and-run

Two drivers were formally arrested in Foshan, China, after they were identified through CCTV footage callously knocking down a toddler and leaving her injured in the street.

Two-year-old Wang Yue has died a week after the incident, which caused an international outcry and forced Chinese people to consider their social morality and reluctance to get involved in other people’s business.

The motor accident, which occurred on 13 October, was caught on a security camera and showed the toddler wander into the street where she was knocked down by the first driver. For the next seven minutes she lay in the road as 18 passers-by ignored her. Then the second van ran over her.

She lay there until an old woman found her and moved her out of the road . At that moment the girl’s mother came searching for her.

The two vans were identified and Foshan police arrested two men, although they have not yet revealed the charges. However, a formal arrest almost always leads to a trial.

Wang Yue, or ‘Little Yue Yue’ as she has been nicknamed in the press, died from her injuries on 21 October.

Her death has sparked soul-searching amongst the Chinese. The Communist Party chief of Guangdong province said: “We should look into the ugliness in ourselves with a dagger of conscience and bite the soul-searching bullet.”

But many Chinese people have argued that helping strangers can have bad consequences. In 2007, a man helped an elderly lady with a broken hip. She later claimed that he caused her injury and sued him for compensation.

In the UK, if you are involved in a hit-and-run accident and the driver who hit you cannot be found, the Motor Insurers’ Bureau will pay you compensation.

Currently there is no hit-and-run crime in the UK. There is an offence of failing to stop at the scene of an accident and failure to report the accident. These offences carry a punishment of five to ten penalty points or disqualification from driving, a fine of up to £5,000 and up to six months’ imprisonment. However, a hit-and-run that results in death could be construed as manslaughter and would carry a heavier punishment.

Related links:
Read more on the story (Press Association)
Main steps in a personal injury claim (FindLaw)
Find local specialist solicitors throughout the UK (FindLaw)

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