CHINA / Regional

Notorious serial killer sentenced to death in NE. China
Updated: 2006-07-14 13:42

A 33-year-old man who murdered six children after sexually assaulting them in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province has been sentenced to death by the Intermediate People's Court of Jiamusi City.

Gong Runbo, who had been previously convicted of rape, killed the six children aged between 9 and 16 after luring them from street and Internet cafe to his rented apartment in Jiamusi between March 2005 and February 2006. He also lured and molested five others aged between 12 and 13.

He was arrested on February 28, when a boy managed to escape from the apartment and called police.

The police captured Gong in a nearby Internet cafe and found four decomposing bodies and children's clothes in his apartment.

Wu Heping, spokesman for China's Ministry of Public Security, dismissed reports that more than six children might have died after they ran DNA tests on the clothes.
Gong pleaded guilty at the court and said he would not appeal.

He was put into prison in October 1996 for raping a young girl and released after he served an imprisonment of eight years.

Then he chose to rent an apartment in a residential area of shanties instead of returning to his former residence and reporting to the police station there, thus successfully shunned attention from police.

He spent most of time playing computer games at an Internet cafe, the same as many of the jobless in China.

Investigators said Gong took some victims to an Internet cafe without being stopped, despite rules limiting children's access to such sites.

Most of the victims came from families where parents were busy making a living all day long and had no time to take care of children, said an earlier report.

Local police officers in Jiamusi have been criticized for their slow response to missing children reports as the murder spree lasted for nearly a year.

Wu Heping acknowledged slowness in investigation might have prolonged the killing.
"Sadly, six dead kids may have died because of our failings," he said.

The provincial police chief had ordered intensive inspections of rented houses, migrant populations, and cases of missing people after Gong's case.


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