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Slain fugitive had gone shopping, visited cinema

Updated: 2012-08-16 07:31
By Xu Wei and Ma Wei in Chongqing ( China Daily)

In the days after Zhou Kehua murdered two people earlier this month, he wandered the streets of Chongqing's bustling shopping district and treated himself to two trips to the cinema, local police have revealed.

Zhou, one of China's most-wanted criminals, was shot dead in a residential alley on Tuesday morning after a shootout with two police officers. The 42-year-old was suspected of killing 10 people and injuring six in a string of robberies over an eight-year period.

On Saturday, Zhou was seen in Chongqing's Guanyinqiao shopping zone in Jiangbei district, one of the city's largest shopping areas. He later went into a nearby shopping mall.

Slain fugitive had gone shopping, visited cinema 

In the shopping mall, Zhou was spotted by a young woman, who reported the sighting to police at about 3:40 pm on Saturday, the Chongqing Daily reported.

The police rushed to the mall but failed to capture him. However, after examining surveillance footages they were able to identify the man as Zhou.

Following his capture, police found two movie tickets among Zhou's personal belongings for movie sessions on Sunday and Monday morning.

The movie theater in the Shapingba district is less than five kilometers from the bank where Zhou was alleged to have committed a murder and robbery. The two movies were the science-fiction action film Lockout, and the spy film The Silent War.

The police are still investigating where Zhou stashed the large sum of money he stole and robbed over the years, which totals 555,000 yuan ($87,200), and a rifle he robbed from a security guard he murdered at a military barracks in 2009.

Zhou's girlfriend is being questioned by police. Some media reports claim the fugitive disclosed his robbery plots to her before carrying them out.

Zhou has been described as "arrogant and defiant" by the two police officers who killed him in the Tuesday morning shootout.

"He had a chance to run. But instead, he chose to walk toward us after discovering we were chasing him," Zhou Jin, one of the two police officers who exchanged gunfire with Zhou, told the Chongqing Morning News.

Zhou was plotting another robbery attempt before he was killed in the shootout with the police on Tuesday, the Chongqing Daily quoted police as saying.

Yi Xi, a police officer from Changsha, Hunan province, denied a previous report that claimed Zhou had previously been a mercenary in Myanmar.

Zhou was the prime suspect in 10 murders.

In 2004 and 2005, he was alleged to have killed three people when robbing them.

In 2009, he was alleged to have killed a security guard at a military barracks while stealing his rifle.

Between 2009 and 2011 in Changsha, he is alleged to have murdered four people, and attempted to rob three of those victims.

After the alleged robberies and killings in Changsha, he hid in a local graveyard.

He carefully plotted each attempt, used a diversion tactic and disguised himself, the Changsha police said in a statement on Tuesday.

The earliest entry on Zhou's criminal record is in 1986 when he was 16 years old and spent time in police custody after molesting a woman. His later run-ins with the law were gun-related. He spent two stints in prison for possession of guns, one in 1993 in Wuhan, Hubei province, and again in 2005 in Kunming, Yunnan province.

He was described by his ex-wife as harboring a mania for guns.

"He always carries guns on his body and cleans the gun every time he gets a minute. He once said the gun is his life," she told Chongqing Daily.

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