Two more murders highlight Guangdong's bloody crime rate

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 January, 2007, 12:00am

Solution to spiralling problem is bridging economic gap, not police crackdown, say academics

Two more dismembered bodies have been found in Guangzhou and the neighbouring city of Foshan in the past few days following last week's grisly discovery of body parts mailed to three different mainland cities.

Guangdong has been battling serious crime rates for many years, due in large part to its huge migrant workforce and high proportion of rented housing.

Police have staged many crackdowns over the years but rampant crime continues to make headlines in the media, especially in Guangzhou.

The Southern Metropolis News yesterday reported that Foshan police found a dismembered female corpse stored in a refrigerator in a roadside shop in the city's Nanhai district on Saturday afternoon. They discovered seven body parts in the refrigerator but could not find the victim's head.

The victim reportedly was the woman who owned the shop. She was in her 30s and from Hunan .

Her husband reported the discovery of her body to police.

Witnesses said the couple had had a serious domestic dispute.

The newspaper also said Guangzhou police found some slightly decomposed body parts on Sunday afternoon in three plastic bags fished from a river in the Baiyun district after being noticed by sanitation workers.

Witnesses said the victim had dark skin.

The News Express reported the victim was believed to be female.

Guangzhou police yesterday refused to disclose any details of either case.

Both discoveries came just days after Guangzhou police detained a man and a woman on suspicion of murdering another man and mailing his body parts to three cities.

A package containing a man's torso was found in Qingdao, Shandong province, last week, while his head and arms were found in parcels in Beijing and Jiangyin, Jiangsu province, the News Express reported.

The paper quoted a police source as saying the woman, a local prostitute, conspired with her new boyfriend to kill her former partner and mail the body parts.

Mei Chuanqiang , a criminology professor from Southwest University of Political Science and Law, urged authorities to pay more attention to the living conditions of disadvantaged groups.

Professor Mei said most poor residents of big cities were living under great pressure and had to deal with burdens such as a much lower income, rocketing housing prices and unaffordable medical care and education.

He said the psychological pressure from these factors distorted the personalities of some people, resulting in such brutal murders.

'Most of the time, murderers in these extreme killings are people who feel no hope for their future and are not afraid of any punishment,' Professor Mei said.

'In this situation, a small conflict turns into a tragedy. The government must prevent people from getting into such a mental state.'

Professor Mei also said research suggested police crackdowns could not reduce crime in the long term and the government should instead adopt more measures to improve the living conditions of disadvantaged people and build a real 'harmonious society'.

Social work professor Law Koon-chui, from Guangzhou's Sun Yat-sen University, said the murders showed the government should recruit social workers to help those in need. 'But the government has given little thought to this so far,' Professor Law said.