Photo via Wikimedia Commons.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Three Chinese students were sentenced Wednesday to state prison for kidnapping another Chinese student in Rowland Heights and taking her to a park, where the 18-year-old woman was stripped naked, beaten and burned with cigarettes over a period of more than five hours.

Yunyao Zhai, 18, was sentenced to 13 years behind bars, while Yuhan Yang, 19, was ordered to spend 10 years in prison, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Zhai and Yang, who are both women, were so- called “parachute kids,” who were sent by their parents to the United States to attend high school, living with host families while their parents remained in China.

A male co-defendant, Xinlei Zhang, 19, was sentenced to six years in state prison.

Zhai, Yang and Zhang kidnapped the victim last March and took her to Rowland Heights Country Park, where she was stripped, repeatedly beaten, spat upon, kicked and burned with cigarettes, according to Deputy District Attorney Casey Jarvis.

Zhang provided scissors to cut the young woman’s hair, which she was then forced to eat, the prosecutor said.

Sheriff’s officials said the attack likely stemmed from a dispute over a boy.

Two days earlier, Zhai and Zhang assaulted a 16-year-old girl at a Rowland Heights park and restaurant in an attack in which Zhai punched and slapped the teen, according to Jarvis. That attack was believed to have occurred because Zhai believed the victim disrespected her, according to sheriff’s officials.

Both victims — who were also “parachute kids” — alerted law enforcement about the attacks.

Zhai and Zhang were arrested last March, while Yang was arrested in mid- April. All three have remained behind bars since then.

Zhai, Yang and Zhang each pleaded no contest Jan. 5 to kidnapping and assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury, with Zhai and Yang admitting an allegation that she personally inflicted great bodily injury, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Yang’s attorney, Rayford Fountain, told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune after the sentencing that the case should serve as a warning to parents in China.

“Well-meaning parents of China should not send kids here alone and unsupervised,” Fountain said. “It is a recipe for disaster.”

— Wire reports 

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