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China's 'most dangerous man' shot dead near mum's home  
 (The Telegraph, London)

After an eight-year manhunt across four provinces involving tens of thousands of police officers, China's most-wanted criminal was shot dead yesterday, 14 kilometres from his mother's home.

Zhou Kehua, 42, was cornered in an alley behind a shoe shop in the central city of Chongqing and opened fire. He was shot in the head at close range. At least one policeman was "lightly injured" in the gun battle.

"After so many murders, he knew he would get the death penalty, so there was no moral struggle in his mind."

Zhou had been on the run since 2004, evading capture despite being the target of one of the largest manhunts mounted in China.

Eight years on the run ... Zhou Kehua appears on a wanted poster. Photo: AFP

By the end, the combined value of all the rewards placed on his head had risen to 5.4 million yuan ($AU800,000) and wanted posters had been pinned up as far afield as Shanghai, more than 1600 kilometres from his home.

Gun crime is extremely rare in China, where firearms are strictly controlled, but Zhou had killed a total of nine people, including one policeman, in a series of armed robberies.

He went for bank customers withdrawing large sums of cash, following his victims and shooting them in the head before making a swift getaway.

Bloody end ... Chinese police remove the body of Zhou Kehua, a fugitive armed robber and suspected serial killer, dubbed China's most dangerous man, after he was shot dead. Photo: AFP

"He remained very calm after the murders and would decide the quickest way to escape," said Pi Yijun, a criminologist at China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing. "He would do his homework by staying at a bank and observing its customers, working out the best place to strike. After so many murders, he knew he would get the death penalty, so there was no moral struggle in his mind."

Zhou would lie low for long periods, disappearing at one stage for more than four years, between 2005 and 2009.

He resurfaced last Friday for the first time since January, killing a woman outside a branch of the Bank of China in Shapingba, a district of Chongqing.

The local authorities quickly mounted an enormous manhunt, calling back all police on leave and mobilising the local army. However, after combing Gele Mountain, only a ragged green T-shirt and two cigarette cartons were found. China Central Television (CCTV) said it was thought that the manhunt, which was widely publicised in the media, had been a ruse to give Zhou a false sense of security.

In fact, he had been spotted in a department store in Chongqing on August 11, leading police to believe he had remained close to the scene of his last crime, rather than retreating to his mountain hideout.

Quietly, four-man teams of plain-clothes police moved through the city to track him down. Eventually a resident in Tongjiaqiao, near his mother's home, reported him to the police yesterday morning, collecting a 600,000 yuan reward. Zhou's father died last August, but his mother lives in a three-storey house and has been under constant surveillance since January.

His ex-wife lives in a neighbouring town with their 13-year-old son. Zhou is thought to have visited them at the beginning of the year after committing a murder and stealing 200,000 yuan in Nanjing.

Two Chinese newspapers disputed the account of Zhou's final moments.

The Chongqing Times said he had committed suicide and the police had merely found his body.

The Changsha Evening News, however, said that he had turned the gun on himself after being shot twice by police.

* Source:
By webmaster (Male. Australia)
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Date: 15 Aug 12    Views: 290    Comments:           

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