China police shoot dead fugitive killer

2012-08-14 09:01

Beijing - Police on Tuesday shot dead an armed robber known as China's most dangerous man and suspected of killing nine people, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Zhou Kehua, aged 42, spent eight years on the run before being shot dead in the southwestern megacity of Chongqing early on Tuesday after a high-profile police manhunt, Xinhua said.

His death ends a huge search that began when Zhou reportedly shot and killed a woman outside a bank in Chongqing on Friday morning, injuring another two people, before killing a police officer later that day.

Police in the city and two neighbouring provinces were ordered to cancel all leave to take part in the hunt for Zhou, and authorities offered a $79 000 reward for information leading to his capture.

Xinhua said he was shot dead in Shapingba, a mountainous district on the outskirts of Chongqing where he was believed to be hiding after the Friday killings.

Zhou's crime spree began when he shot and killed a woman during a bank heist in Chongqing in 2004, the agency said.

Police believe he was also responsible for shootings in Changsha, in China's central Hunan province, and Nanjing in the eastern province of Jiangsu, earning him the title "China's most dangerous man" in Chinese media.

Gun crime is relatively rare in China, where extremely tight laws bar almost all private ownership of firearms.