A video of a traffic dispute that recently went viral in China showed a female driver of a red Porsche slapping a male driver across the face at a crossroad in Chongqing. Netizens then posted several other videos related to this woman, who bragged about speeding: “I just like to speed, I often run through red lights, and I can always cancel my traffic violations.”
Local authorities announced on Aug. 12 that the woman’s husband is now under investigation and has been removed from his post as head of the Shichuan Police Station.
The traffic dispute occurred on July 30 in Yubei District of Chongqing, a city in Southwest China. The female driver, Li Yue, became very angry because the driver behind her did not make space for her to make an illegal turn.
In the video, Li stopped her car, blocking the road, and got out of her Porsche. The other driver, later identified as Mr. Yang, also got out of his car. When confronting each other, Li berated Yang, saying that he was wearing rags and calling his Chevy SUV “a beggar’s car.” Moreover, it seemed that cursing alone was not enough to vent her anger as Li suddenly slapped Yang very hard across the face. Yang immediately slapped her back.
When a passerby posted the footage on the internet, other netizens recognized Li based on her usual white straw hat, red Porsche, and belligerent behavior. They posted a number of videos showing Li’s wayward conduct in other traffic disputes.
In one video, Li arrogantly claimed that she drove as she pleased and didn’t pay any fines.
In another video, Li was seen standing by a car trying to challenge the male driver inside. “I am well-known in Yubei District for being a habitual speeder. I only need to make a phone call to have my red-light violations removed. Now you try to race against me, think about it, are you able to do the same thing?”
Reports about the dispute soon became the most searched news item on July 31. At the same time, a notice from Yubei District Public Security was leaked on the internet requiring all policemen and traffic control staff “not to reveal any information about the person involved in a traffic dispute that was widely reported in media today,” according to Chinese news portal Sina.
The Sina article also publicized a post by a netizen who revealed that Li’s husband is Tong Xiaohua, director of the Shichuan Police Station, a branch of the Yubei District Public Security Bureau.
Under pressure from the public, Chongqing Municipal Public Security Bureau announced on Aug. 1 that it had ordered the Yubei District Public Security Bureau to investigate Li Yue and her husband, including Li’s traffic violation records and Tong’s assets.
On Aug. 12, Yubei District Public Security Bureau issued a statement, saying that Tong was removed from his post as head of the Shichuan Police Station, and will be investigated on suspicion of violating certain disciplines unrelated to Li’s recent traffic dispute.
The announcement also stated that Li had racked up 29 traffic violations since she purchased her Porsche in March 2016. However, it claimed that all violations had been handled following traffic law requirements.
Li is the third owner of her Porsche, which she bought for 636,000 yuan in 2016 ($90,296), according to the announcement.
Infamous Li Gang Incident
In recent years, quite a few Chinese officials have run into trouble in a similar manner. Some were investigated after their children flaunted their wealth on social media, others were sacked when the family tried to use their influence to settle disputes or even legal cases. In all these cases, the authorities were forced to take action because of high-profile exposure.
The Li Gang Incident is probably the most prominent of them all.
On the evening of Oct. 16, 2010, drunk driver Li Qiming, 22, was involved in a hit and run of two college students inside Hebei University as he drove his Volkswagen Magotan through a narrow lane. One of the victims, 20-year-old Chen Xiaofeng, was seriously injured and died in the hospital. The other victim, 19-year-old Zhang Jingjing, survived but suffered a fractured leg. Li Qiming did not make any attempt to help the two victims. Instead, he just left and drove his girlfriend to her dormitory. When intercepted by security guards, Li yelled at them, “Go ahead, sue me if you dare. My father is Li Gang!”
It turned out that his father, Li Gang, was the deputy director of the local public security bureau.
At first, Chinese authorities tried to suppress reports on the internet, but mysteriously, one month later, people all over the country heard about the incident. In January 2011, Li Qiming was sentenced to 6 years in prison and ordered to pay compensation to the two victims’ families.
The phrase “my father is Li Gang” became a popular catchphrase. For instance, in some places, the road sign “Slow” is replaced with a sign that read “Drive slowly. Your father is not Li Gang.”