BEIJING, April 20 (AP)--Three more members of the banned Falun Gongspiritual movement have died of beatings or hunger strikes while incustody, including one who may still have been breathing whenpolice cremated him, a human rights group said Thursday.

At least 15 Falun Gong practitioners have died in custody sincethe group was banned nine months ago, the Hong Hong-basedInformation Center for Human Rights and Democracy said.

The government has disputed some of those claims, sayingpractitioners committed suicide or died of natural causes, notbecause of any mistreatment.

The Information Center cited family members of those killed,unidentified officials and unidentified Falun Gong practitioners.

It said Zhang Zhenggang, a 36-year-old bank worker and FalunGong organizer in Huaian city in eastern Jiangsu province, wasbeaten March 25 by a guard and another prisoner with wooden batons,leaving him in a coma.

Five days later, police took the comatose Zhang, who was stillbreathing and had a pulse, from the hospital to a crematorium, theInformation Center said.

``Zhang Zhenggang may still have been alive when he wascremated,'' it said.

A city police official, contacted by telephone, said he knewnothing about the case.

The Information Center said Falun Gong member Guan Chaosheng wasbeaten to death by police in Beijing after he came to the capitalto protest.

Members have been coming to Beijing almost every day to protestthe ban, and are often picked up on Tiananmen Square.

The Information Center said authorities paid $1,200 incompensation to Guan's family.

A police official in Guan's hometown, in Qidong county insouthern Hunan province, said he did not know about the case.

Falun Gong member Li Yanhua died April 14 in a labor camp aftera hunger strike, the Information Center said.

Li, an employee at an aircraft manufacturer in Nanchang, a cityin the southern province of Jiangxi, was sentenced in January totwo years in prison after she came to Beijing to protest, the groupsaid.

It said 60 other Falun Gong members imprisoned in the labor campare on a hunger strike that began April 4.

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