A Beijing gang killed eight people over nine years, dismembering and cooking some of the victims, a court has heard.
Xia Keming, the leader of the gang.
Between December 1999 and January 2007, the four-member gang, led by Beijing native Xia Keming, 44, allegedly killed business partners, a mistress and even a wife for money or because they knew too much, the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People's Court heard, the Beijing Morning Post reported yesterday.
Prosecutors told the court the gang began the murder spree when Xia asked his brother Xia Kezhi to kill Liu, his business partner, in December 1999 as he suspected Liu had tipped off police, who caught him smuggling in Tianjin Municipality.
The brothers then met up with Tao Chun, an ex-convict roommate of Xia Kezhi, and hitman Yang Hui. Together they strangled Liu before dumping his body near Beijing's Beidai Lake.
Months later the gang killed a man surnamed Li, who was Xia Keming's boss, when Xia said Li would not repay a 3-million-yuan (US$439,194) loan, the court was told.
In December 2002, the gang murdered another business partner surnamed Mi after he fell out with Xia Keming over funding a villa project in Beijing's Huairou District. Xia paid 1 million yuan to Mi's ex-wife after the killing so he could take over Mi's business, the court heard.
In December 2003, the gang killed another of Xia's business partners, a man surnamed Wu and his girlfriend. Xia Keming also ordered the gang to kill a woman surnamed Du and her husband in January last year. This time they dismembered the two bodies before cooking and dumping them, the court heard.
Du had been Xia Keming's mistress for a long time. Xia told the court that he killed Du because she knew too much and they had disagreed about business.
Yang, one of the gang members, told the court that he had carried out all of the killings and he did it solely for money. Yang, who killed his wife for being unfaithful, confessed that he was paid more than 700,000 yuan for the killings.
"I regarded the killings as work and have never had nightmares," Yang told the court, the newspaper said.
(Shanghai Daily October 17, 2008)