Tangshan Restaurant Assault: Suspects in Case that Shocked China Linked to Illegal Online Gambling

The perpetrators of shocking assault on women at a barbecue restaurant in Tangshan, Hubei province, northeast China, have links to the country’s illegal online gambling industry, Chinese authorities have said.

A still from the Tangshan restaurant attack video that shocked China and reignited debate about misogyny in the country’s society. (Image: Weibo)

In the early hours of June 10, a group of nine men launched a sickening attack on several female diners, leaving at least two hospitalized. Surveillance footage of the incident caused public outrage when it was leaked online and sparked a national debate about violence against women.

Chinese authorities and state media have preferred to frame the incident as a gang crime problem rather than a gender violence problem. But online, the footage has provoked unprecedented criticism, with hundreds of thousands calling out misogyny in Chinese society.

Within hours of its posting on social media site Weibo, it had been viewed 56 million times and generated over 180,000 comments. The attack now has its own Wikipedia page.

Brutal Attack Video

Tangshan police, said this week that four of the nine suspects had traveled eastern Jiangsu province on June 7 to conspire with the other five to “carry out illegal online gambling and money laundering activities.”

Several have criminal records for offenses including illegal detainment to “intentional harming,” police said in a statement.

All nine men were traced and arrested by the afternoon of June 11.

The video shows a man in his forties approach a young woman at the restaurant who his dining with friends. When she rebuffs his advances, he attacks her. One of the woman’s companions attempts to intervene and appears to hit the assailant with a bottle.

Now, the man’s friends join in, beating the women with bottles and chairs. Two of the women are dragged outside by their hair, where they are kicked, punched and bottled repeatedly in the head.

The other diners in the restaurant do nothing.

Horrifying Injuries

On June 11, Tangshan police said two women were hospitalized with “non-life-threatening injuries” and were in “stable condition.”

A photograph on posted on social media, purportedly of one of the women being wheeled into an ambulance, depicted horrifying injuries.

Chinese authorities have launched an investigation into whether Tangshan police failed to respond in time. According to a statement, a deputy head at the local police station has been suspended from his duties.

Beijing is uncomfortable when women speak out against sexual assault and violence. In November 2021, Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai took to Weibo to accuse a senior Chinese Communist Party official, Zhang Gaoli, of assaulting her.

She subsequently went missing, only reappear at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, where she denied making the allegations in interviews that appeared stage managed. Concerns remain about her whereabouts and safety.

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