We have an update to the disturbing story of a murdered 16-year-old girl who might have been tracked down via her Sina Weibo posts. If you haven’t been following, here’s the quick summary: high school student Lai Zengyutong disappeared on January 12 in Shenzhen and was found dead the next day in an empty shop. (Her name has also appeared as “Laiceng Yutong” and “Tsang Yue Laitong,” along with misspelled variations.) Her killer, 19-year-old Meng Shuai, was apprehended on January 21, with netizens following the story every step of the way and fervently discussing online. “Lai’s death has also elicited a torrent of concern for the safety of Weibo microbloggers, particularly young women who might not understand the risks involved in posting personal content online,” wrote Alexander Nasr on Tea Leaf Nation.
The latest details come via Sina – first, Meng has denied that he tracked down Lai via Weibo, according to Shenzhen TV:
But Meng told police he chose his target randomly and denied he found Laiceng based on her microblog, the TV report said.
Meng told police he had been cheated in a pyramid scam and had a tense relationship with his family. He decided to rob others to make a living and strangled the girl to death after she resisted, the report said.
This probably isn’t a detail that will make anyone feel better about the world, and neither is this next part:
Meng told police he killed Laiceng as a way to “take revenge on society” for all the “unfair treatment” he had received in life.
Wide are the cracks through which the disenfranchised might slip.
Unrelated to all that, there’s this final detail buried in the tail end of the article:
Laiceng’s relatives told Shenzhen Television that a woman had witnessed a man grabbing Laiceng. The woman rushed to a factory to get help from a security guard.
The guard told her it was none of his business and no one called the police, the relatives told the TV station.
Was the guard paralyzed by the Genovese syndrome? “Diffusion of responsibility,” it’s called, but in this case, who was he thinking the buck would pass to? Alas, it strikes me as plain laziness, and it might have cost a girl her life. Again, no reason to feel better about the world.