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Writer held in 4 killings from 1995

By Shi Xiaofeng in Hangzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-15 08:44

A well-known Chinese writer has been detained in connection with the brutal slaying of four people at a guesthouse in Zhejiang province 22 years ago.

ThePaper.cn identified the suspect as poet and novelist Liu Yongbiao, 53. Police identified him only by the surname Liu and said he was a writer. Another suspect was also detained-a man identified only as Wang, 64.

The detentions followed a new round of DNA analysis, the Huzhou public security bureau said on Monday.

The two men are accused of robbing a guest at a hostel and then bludgeoning him to death. They were also accused of beating to death the couple who operated the hostel and their 13-year-old grandson, according to Shen Lianjiang, the bureau's deputy director.

Shen said Liu and Wang were good friends, and the latter had been working in Zhili, a town in Huzhou, for two years.

When the two stayed in a hostel and tried to find targets to make some easy money, one guest, surnamed Yu, from Shandong province, attracted their attention, Shen said.

On Nov 29, 1995, Liu and Wang were caught by Yu as they were trying to steal his money, and they subsequently killed Yu and later beat the couple and their grandson to death to cover their crime, Shen said.

The lack of monitoring systems inside and outside the hostel, as well as the ID registration process, created difficulties for the investigation.

After inquiring with other guests, neighbors and passers-by, local police had two male criminal portraits, some used towels, fingerprints and shoe prints, but were unable to find the suspects in their database.

"We reopened the investigation several times over the years, there was no progress until we used new DNA technology when we reopened the case again in June," Shen said, adding that the police checked about 60,000 fingerprint files in 15 provinces and cities and finally found a match. They detained Liu at around 1 am on Friday in Nanling county, Anhui province.

Wang was caught on the same day at about 6 am in Shanghai, four hours away by car, based on information given by Liu, the police said.

Liu is chief editor of a school magazine and also a well-known writer in Anhui province. He is a member of the Chinese Writers Association, and has published some prose poems and novels.

"I lived in fear for 20 years. I knew the day would come," Liu wrote in a letter he left for his wife.

The special investigation team collected blood sample from Liu in July as they were following leads.

"I knew that I might not escape this time. I have been waiting at home since then," said Liu in a video provided by the police at a news conference.

Wang, who was caught in Shanghai, is the legal representative of an investment company.

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