HEFEI — A pretty teenager suffered horrific burns to her face and body when she was splashed with lighter fluid after she had spurned the advances of a classmate.
Zhou Yan, 17, incurred second and third—degree burns to 30 percent of her body, particularly around her head, neck and chest, following the alleged attack by 17—year—old Tao Rukun in the bedroom of her home last September.
Zhou required intensive care in hospital for a week before she was out of danger, but after months of treatment, she has had to leave hospital prematurely and is now recovering at home — in the bedroom where the attack took place.
This is due to a dispute between her family and Tao’s over payment of medical expenses.
According to Zhou Yan’s mother Li Cong, Tao started asking Zhou to be his girlfriend a few years ago. Li then transferred her daughter to another junior middle school to get away from Tao, but to no avail.
"Tao’s parents were nice to us and frequently visited my daughter in hospital at first. But all that changed when Xu Congxiao, Tao’s mother, asked me to sign the paperwork for her son’s bail appeal while he awaited trial," Li Cong said in an interview with local television.
Li added that Tao’s parents were local government officials. Tao’s father works for Hefei urban planning bureau and his mother is with Hefei Audit Bureau.
After help with their son’s bail request was refused
by Li Cong, Tao’s parents refused to pay any further medical bills. Zhou Yan was then transferred to her home in December when her family fell into arrears of more than 100,000 yuan ($15,900)in medical expenses, said local media.
But the family’s plight received wide media and public attention last week, when Li Cong posted their story and "before and after" pictures of her daughter on Sina Weibo.
Tao Rukun was arrested by Hefei police on Sept 18, the day after the attack, and is currently being held at the First Detention Center in Hefei.
His father Tao Wen posted an apology letter on weibo on Saturday, saying he would do everything possible to help Zhou Yan and would accept the legal judgment on his son.