BEIJING, June 21 (Reuters) - The deputy police chief of Lubei district in northern China’s Tangshan city where a group of female diners were assaulted has been dismissed.

This comes as public outrage over the case continues, more than a week after it took place in the early hours of Jun 10.

The incident was caught on security camera footage that later went viral. In it, a man is seen walking into a barbecue restaurant before approaching a female diner and touching her back.

She pushes back at him, and the man reacts by beginning to hit her.

The woman is then dragged outside the restaurant by the man’s male companions, where she continues to be beaten and kicked while on the floor. Her friends who try to help are also attacked by the group.

Netizens have since accused the police of responding slowly, questioning if they only acted after the video went viral.

A statement by the Hebei province public security department on Tuesday (Jun 21) said police officers involved have been investigated for their “slow and improper” handling of the case.

Police had arrived at the scene at 3.09am - 28 minutes after receiving a call about the incident at 2.41am.

The group had fled the scene at 2.47am.

Local authorities said the four women suffered “minor” or “slight” injuries, even as two remain in hospital, adding that their conditions were improving.

The official response came amid calls by netizens for an update on the women’s well-being as rumours of their condition spread. Some also expressed scepticism, fearing that their injuries may be more serious than reported.

Nine suspects – seven men and two women – were arrested.

Authorities revealed that some of them had been involved in illegal activities, including provoking trouble and operating a gambling house.