5.4m yuan offered for capture of killer

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 August, 2012, 4:15am

The reward for information leading to the arrest of a suspected serial killer totalled 5.4 million yuan (HK$6.61 million), as the manhunt for one of the country's most-wanted fugitives enters its fifth day.

Authorities are searching for 42-year-old Zhou Kehua , a Chongqing native who is the prime suspect in 11 shooting deaths dating back to April 2004, including two on Friday in the municipality. Four people have been injured, but nearly all the victims have died from bullets to the head.

Chongqing, Sichuan and neighbouring provinces such as Guizhou are dedicating nearly all of their police resources to hunting down Zhou, the Henan -based Dahe Daily reported yesterday.

Chongqing is offering 500,000 yuan for Zhou's capture, while the Ministry of Public Security has chipped in 100,000 yuan. More than 10 other cities have also contributed to the reward fund.

A large number of police from Hunan and Jiangsu provinces, where Zhou is also a suspect in shooting deaths, have been sent to Chongqing to help search. A unit of the People's Liberation Army from the Chengdu military region was also sent at the weekend to aid in the hunt.

And the Hainan Daily reported that its province's entire police force had been put on standby to help search if needed.

Mainland media estimated yesterday that there were more than 10,000 police officers stationed throughout the Gele Mountain and Jinkou township areas of rural Chongqing. A tattered shirt and cigarette boxes had reportedly been found in a cave on the mountain. A nearby highway was being closely watched.

Zhou reportedly has not stayed at hotels, to avoid identity checks, and the banks where the robberies and shootings took place have been near railway stations, allowing the culprit to quickly escape.

Most victims were robbed and shot after they withdrew money, often in large amounts, from banks.

On Friday morning, a gunman shot three people outside a bank in Chongqing's Shapingba district, killing one. And around noon, a 29-year-old railway officer named Zhu Yanchao was gunned down after he questioned a man on a train.