Saturday August 18, 2012
End of the road for China’s serial killer
MADE IN CHINA
By CHOW HOW BAN
Zhou Kehua went on a killing and robbery spree before he was tracked down by police and killed in a shootout.
FOLLOWING the death of serial killer Zhou Kehua, who was gunned down by the police during a shootout in Chongqing, the focus has now shifted to his 20-year-old girlfriend who may hold the key to solving the mystery of the case.
Zhang Guiying was one of the few people whom the killer contacted before and after he killed his victims.
The police said they had detained Zhang to assist in their investigations and to answer questions like: Where is the loot robbed by Zhou? What was Zhou’s motive for killing?
At about 6.45am on Tuesday, Zhou walked into an alley near a shoe factory in the Shapingba district when he discovered that he was being tailed by someone. Behind him was a vegetable seller who suspected that the man in front of him could have been the murderer on the wanted posters on the alley walls.
When Zhou turned around and walked towards him, the vegetable seller saw a gun in his waistband and fled. Then, he heard gunshots.
Plainclothes officers Zhou Jin and Wang Xiaoyu were quoted by local press as saying that they fired two shots each at Zhou Kehua in retaliation after he shot at them.
“I hid behind an electrical pole while my partner Wang leaned against the wall. One of the gunshots hit the pole and another hit the ground and ricocheted onto Wang’s ankle,” Zhou Jin said.
The two officers had trailed Zhou Kehua for a while after receiving a lead that he would appear in the area. They found him dead after the shootout.
The Chongqing police said that the night before, Zhou contacted Zhang and told her that he did not manage to rob too much money on Aug 10 and he would “do something big again” on Tuesday.
According to a report in Yangtse Evening News, Zhou and Zhang met at a hair salon where she worked following the infamous Jan 6 robbery in which Zhou grabbed 200,000 yuan (RM96,000) from a company’s employee who had come out of a bank in Nanjing before killing him.
Apparently, Zhou gave Zhang the money that he robbed from the bank and told her about his previous robbery and murder plots.
Zhang worshipped her boyfriend and asked for more money from his latest crimes in Chongqing.
On Aug 10, it was reported that Zhou robbed 70,000 yuan (RM33,600) from a woman who withdrew money from a Bank of China branch in Chongqing, causing two deaths and injuring another.
Previously, Zhou only used ID phone cards to contact his family from public telephone booths.
But since developing a relationship with Zhang, he had used a mobile phone to get in touch with her and this enabled the police to track him down.
Zhou became one of China’s most wanted crime suspects after killing 10 people during robberies in Jiangsu and Hunan provinces and Chongqing municipality over the last eight years.
Police said the 42-year-old Chongqing native carefully plotted each attempt using the diversion tactic and disguising himself whenever he committed the crimes.
He was first found in the possession of guns in Hubei province’s Wuhan city in 1993 and later in Kunming, Yunnan province, in 2005. He spent two stints in prison for the offences.
His ex-wife described him as someone who loved guns very much. He often carried guns around and cleaned them whenever he was free, she said.
A resident was rewarded 600,000 yuan (RM288,000) for tipping off the police in the hunt of the most-wanted man.
The young woman reported the sighting of Zhou while shopping with her boyfriend in the Jiangbei district in Chongqing on Aug 11.
She said they followed Zhou into a shopping mall but when he discovered that someone was tailing him he turned around and stared at them.
She added that they hid in a restaurant and informed the police of the suspect. The police rushed to the mall but failed to capture him.
However, after examining surveillance images in the area, the police identified the man as Zhou with the help of his ex-wife.
Following his capture, the police found two movie tickets among Zhou’s personal belongings and this suggested that he might have planned to watch the science-fiction film Lockout and spy film The Silent War on Aug 12 and Aug 13 at a cinema located less than 5km from the Bank of China branch where he committed the crime on Aug 10.
The police are still looking for the estimated 555,000 yuan (RM266,400) that he stole and robbed over the years and a rifle he took from a security guard whom he murdered at a military barracks in 2009.