BEIJING, Oct. 30 (AP)--A human rights group said Monday that three followers of Falun Gong died in police custody, including one man who the group said was beaten to death after refusing to renounce his membership in the meditation sect.

Wang Bin, a 47-year-old computer specialist, was beaten for three hours by guards at the Dongfeng labor camp, the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy reported. He died Oct. 5, the Hong Kong-based group said.

The group also said Xie Guiying, 32, died of a beating at a police station on Oct. 18 in the eastern city of Zhunan. Liu Yucai, 60, a private doctor from northeastern Jilin province, died in a Beijing police station on Oct. 6, the report said.

The deaths raise to 62 the number of sect followers who have died in detention since China banned the Falun Gong in July 1999.

Chinese officials have declined to discuss individual reports of police abuse against Falun Gong members, but deny that any followers have died from police mistreatment.

Wang's former colleagues at an oil field management institute in the northern city of Daching are demanding that his killers be prosecuted, and sent a representative to discuss the case with police on Monday, the human rights group said.

A Communist Party official at the institute, who would only give his surname, Cui, said he had heard of Wang's death and the protests, but declined to provide details. He said he did not know how police responded to the representative's visit.

Arrests of Falun Gong members in Beijing's Tiananmen Square have become increasingly violent. On Thursday, police pummeled and dragged Falun Gong members to waiting vans, kicking one man in the stomach and head until blood ran from his mouth.

Falun Gong attracted millions of members during the 1990s, offering a combination of meditative physical exercises, Buddhist and Taoist teachings and the often unorthodox ideas of its founder, former government clerk Li Hongzhi, who has left China.

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