pinyin: Yáng Xīnhǎi ; 17 July
1968–14 February 2004) was one of the worst serial
killers in China's history.
His relatives, now
living in Pennsylvania, often claim he was obsessed with
a phrase he was known to talk about "Plato Flats", a
fictional place he created for stories of murder he had
begun writing. His stories were written on everything
He was also known for
having drawings and outlines for various other ideas in
"Mead" Notebooks. Often there were depictions of ideas
he had for stories and films that he wanted to create.
He confessed to killing 65 people in
central China from 1999 to 2003. At night, he would
enter his victims' homes, and kill everyone inside with
axes, meat cleavers, hammers, and shovels. He often
raped the female victims.
He was arrested in northern China on
November 23, 2003; found guilty after a trial lasting
less than an hour on February 1, 2004; and executed for
his crimes on February 14, 2004.
According to Yang, the motive for the
killings was that he was dumped by his girlfriend - who
had found out about a previous prison term for burglary
and rape - and taking out his anger on society.
China executes mass murderer
Saturday, February 14, 2004
China has executed one of the worst serial killers in
the country's history - a man convicted of 67 murders.
Yang Xinhai, 38, was found guilty earlier this month
of a three-year killing spree, after a one-hour trial.
It said he used a hammer to carry out some of the
attacks in four provinces, sometimes murdering entire families.
Some reports suggested he was angry after being
rejected by his girlfriend, but others said he was motiveless killer who
simply enjoyed death.
He had waived his right to an appeal, after being
sentenced in the city of Luohe, in the province of Hunan.
He was also convicted of 23 rapes.
State media did not say how he was executed; death
sentences in China are carried out either by lethal injection or a
bullet in the head.
Yang - a migrant worker - was arrested in Cangzhou
City in Hebei last November, during a routine inspection of
He later admitted the crimes in the provinces of
Henan, Anhui, Shandong and Hebei, and police also matched his DNA with
that found at several crime scenes.
In an interview shown on China's Central Television
after his trial, Yang gave no real motive for the killing spree that had
begun after he was released from a labour camp for rape in 2000.
"When I killed people I had a desire (to kill more).
This inspired me to kill more. I don't care whether they deserve to live
or not. It is none of my concern," Yang said.
"I have no desire to be part of society. Society is
not my concern," he said.
killed 67 people executed
February 14, 2004
One of China's worst serial killers, a man who
murdered 67 people and raped two dozen women in a four-year crime spree,
was executed in Central China's Henan Province Saturday.
Yang Xinhai, 35, was sentenced to death on Feb. 1
by the Luohe City Intermediate People's Court in Henan, Xinhua News
Yang had not appealed against the sentence, the
Yang, who was described as a very "insidious"
criminal by police, used tools such as an iron hammer or a meat cleaver
to murder entire families during his rampage across four provinces.
Since 1999 had moved around and committed crimes in
26 cases in rural areas of Henan, Shandong, Anhui and Hebei provinces.
He was arrested in November 2003 in Cangzhou City of north China's Hebei
Police said Yang usually carried out criminal actives
at night and cleared the scenes of crime before he ran away. Each time,
he wore new clothes and shoes with larger size than his own.
Yang had been imprisoned twice on charges of burglary
and rape, and turned to murder after his release in 1999.
China executes serial killer
Saturday, February 14, 2004
BEIJING, China (AP) -- A man convicted of 67 murders was
executed Saturday after what Chinese media said
might be the country's longest, deadliest killing
spree in modern history.
Yang Xinhua, 38, was put to death in Luohe, the city
where he was convicted February 1 in the central province of Henan,
state television and the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
Yang was convicted of killings in Henan and three other
provinces during a crime spree that began in 2001 and ended with his
capture in November. He sometimes traveled from town to town by bicycle.
Yang was executed by gunshot, Xinhua said.
Yang also was convicted of 23 rapes during his crime
spree, which began following his release from a labor camp where he
served a term for rape and theft, according to earlier reports.
Authorities barred the public and reporters from Yang's
hour-long trial, citing privacy concerns in rape cases.
Little is known about his motives, but earlier reports
said Yang had been dumped by his girlfriend and "desperately wanted to
retaliate against society."
News reports described Yang as mentally unbalanced,
saying he would begin rambling and shouting after a few seconds of
Yang confessed and police matched his DNA with that found
at several crime scenes, earlier reports said.
Details of the victims' identities and details of their
deaths weren't released.
Man faces death after
February 2, 2004
A man whose trail of death left more than sixty
people dead in four provinces was sentenced to death Sunday.
Yang Xinhai, 38, killed 67 people and raped 23 women
in a spree that spanned four provinces in four years. He was convicted
Sunday in Luohe, in Central China's Henan Province.
The Luohe Intermediate People's Court sentenced Yang
to death for crimes of intentional homicide, willful and malicious
injury, pillage and rape.
Yang said he would not appeal to a higher court.
Yesterday's hearing, which lasted an entire day, was
conducted behind closed doors to protect the identities of the female
Yang, of Henan's Zhengyang County, was arrested last
November in Cangzhou of North China's Hebei Province.
He confessed to 17 crimes in Henan, two in Hebei, two
in East China's Anhui Province and one in East China's Shandong Province
The toll of his crime spree goes beyond the dead and
raped. Another 10 people were seriously injured. In some instances, Yang
put whole families to death.
On December 6, 2002, Yang killed Liu Zhanwei, a
farmer in the Liuzhuang Village of Henan's Xiping County who is in his
30's, his mother, wife, son and daughter.
Only Liu's father, 68-year-old Liu Zhongyuan survived
because he slept in a new house that night.
"We planned to move to the new house on December 9.
Who can imagine that they experienced such tragedy only three days
before?" the surviving father cried.
Liu Zhongyuan recalled that seeing his granddaughter
that fateful morning. She was lying on the ground, with a hole in her
head. The room was full of blood.
"My wife could still bat her eyelids but could not
speak any more."
Liu Zhanwei, his wife and son were all found with
Liu Zhongyuan's wife died 10 days after being sent to
hospital on December 6.
The other four people died where they were found.
Yang Xinhai later confessed that he used an iron
hammer to kill the five family members at 1 am on December 6.
He buried the hammer near a tomb at night and threw
his bloody clothes into a river.
Yang then walked two hours to the city of Luohe. He
said he used a new hammer for each murder.
Yang dropped out of school in 1985 and began to
travel to other regions, working as a hired labourer.
He was twice sent to re-education through labour
camps, in 1988 and 1991, for theft in Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi
Province and Shijiazhuang, North China's Hebei Province.
He was sentenced to five years in prison in 1996 for
an attempted rape in Zhumadian, Central China's Henan Province.
He was released in 2000.
That was when his killing spree began.
Sources with the local police of Cangzhou, Hebei
Province, where Yang was arrested, said that he killed and rape, but not
"He committed crimes to merely hurt society," a local
policeman was quoted by the Jiangnan Times as saying.
During his stay at a detention house in Luohe, when
asked by other criminal suspects why he killed so many people, Yang said,
"killing people is very usual, nothing special."
On November 3, 2003, 35 year old Yang Xinhai was arrested by police in
the province of Hebei in Canzhou, China for the murders of at least 67
people in a two year time period.
He was also the chief
suspect for a rash of cases in three other cities, Anhui, Shandong and
Henan in China.
The motive for the
killings, according to Yang, was that he had been dumped by his
girlfriend and wanted to take his anger out on society.
Yang’s girlfriend had
left him after finding out about a prison term the man had served for
rape and burglary.
Yang’s method was to go
to farmhouses and slaughter everyone he found. He would bash them to
death. The killer used tools such as a meat cleaver and iron hammer to
murder the farming families.
Yang would always wear
new clothes and shoes two sizes too big to put police off his track. He
travelled between the Chinese provinces on a bicycle.
He was found guilty on
February 1, 2004 after a trial that lasted less than an hour for the
murders of 67 of his victims and the rapes of 25 women. He was sentenced
to death for his crimes.
Justice was metered out
quickly for the serial killer. On February 14, 2004 the killer was
executed in Hehan.
The details or
identities of the killer’s victims were not revealed.
Chinese 'serial killer' confesses
Friday, 21 November, 2003
An alleged serial killer in central China has confessed to 65
killings, according to Chinese media reports.
35-year-old man, Yang Xinhai, has reportedly told police that he carried
out the killings over the last three years.
They said the attacks were carried out with axes or
shovels, often while the victims were asleep.
The killings took place in rural areas in the
provinces of Henan, Anhui, Shandong and Hebei.
Yang was arrested in Cangzhou city in Hebei province
on 3 November, during a routine inspection of entertainment venues.
Though DNA testing, he was later linked to the
If convicted, he would rank among the world's worst
Yang is also accused of raping 23 of his female
victims, according to reports on Friday in the Beijing News.
More details have emerged about the nature of the
attacks as police piece together the killing spree.
Most of the victims were bludgeoned on the head with
axes and shovels, leaving shocking scenes which were discovered by
Yang is alleged to have used white gloves during the
attacks, often leaving them at the scene of the crime.
In all there are believed to have been 22 attacks, in
which 65 people were killed, and from which five people managed to
On at least two occasions he is alleged to have
killed an entire family - one of his most brutal attacks was in August
this year, when a family of five was murdered in Hebei province.
Media reports have said that Yang was the youngest of
four children and his parents have described him as a promising but
introverted student, who left home when he was in high school.
Concern has been expressed in Chinese internet forums
about why these murders, along with other similar cases, were only
reported after police had arrested suspects.
mass media, mass murder not a story
16 november 2003
It is believed to be
the most horrific case of mass murder in recent Chinese
history, but for the major mainland media outlets, the case
of Yang Zhiya, the "Monster Killer" who is believed to have
murdered 65 people, is not news.
Yang, an ex-convict
who reportedly severely injured five other people, was
arrested in a nightclub in Cangzhou, Hebei province, two
weeks ago after police realised he was on the nation's most-wanted
His arrest was first
reported on Friday in the Yanzhao Metropolitan Daily and was
later picked up by some mainland websites. But a mainland
reporter close to the paper said several websites carrying
the reports soon "killed" the story.
The official media -
Xinhua, China Central Television and the People's Daily -
did not carry any reports on the gruesome killing spree that
allegedly took place in four provinces: Hebei, Henan, Anhui
officials have imposed a nationwide media blackout to avoid
presenting China in a bad light.
In marked contrast
to the silence regarding the domestic killer, mainland media
had a field day early this month with detailed reports on
the trial of American serial killer Gary Ridgway, who has
pleaded guilty to killing 48 women in Seattle during the
The journalist said
the state-run media would not carry reports on the local
murder case because officials would feel it would reflect
badly on the country's security situation.
The story leaked out
on Friday after journalists in Cangzhou heard rumours about
the case from several sources. "There is a saying that says
no wall is totally wind-proof," one journalist said. "Some
of the Cangzhou people knew about the case but the police
had sealed their mouths on the report."
It was not until the
story had been published that officials from police
departments from Henan, Anhui and Shandong confirmed details
of the case to the South China Morning Post.
The treatment of the
Yang case is not unusual. Families of the victims in a
Shenzhen serial murder case have been warned by police not
to talk to the media lest they paint the city in bad light,
relatives have said, and media coverage of the case has been
The families have
been told that two suspects are expected to go on trial
around November 25 on charges of robbing and murdering 12
China arrests alleged mass killer
Saturday, November 15, 2003
BEIJING, China (Reuters) -- Chinese police have arrested a man accused of knifing 65
people to death in one of the most horrifying cases of serial slayings
in China's recent history.
Ex-convict Yang Zhiya was grabbed earlier this month
in the northern city of Cangzhou after police inspecting an
entertainment venue recognized him from a national most-wanted list, the
Guangzhou Daily said on Saturday.
Yang, who had spent time in prison and a labor camp
for rape and robbery, set off on his killing spree after his girlfriend
left him over his criminal past, the newspaper said.
"Yang Zhiwei harbored feelings of revenge against
society ... and moreover his methods were extremely cruel; he didn't
leave survivors, and more than a few families were exterminated by his
hand," it said.
Despite the astonishing death toll and the grisly
nature of the crimes, Yang's case has not been widely reported in
tightly controlled state media since his capture on November 3.
China has viewed itself as largely free of the kind
of mass violence it sees reported in countries such as the United States.
The four-paragraph report in a city newspaper
contrasted with the media's intensive coverage of serial killers in the
West, such as Gary Ridgway, the "Green River Killer" who pleaded guilty
this month to murdering 48 prostitutes and runaways in the Seattle area.
While official violent crime figures are unavailable,
China is no stranger to mass killings.
But rather than office shootings or serial slayings,
it is troubled by revenge poisonings, arsons and even bombings.
Last year, a man killed at least 42 people, many of
them children, by slipping rat poison into food at a rival's shop in the
eastern city of Nanjing.
The Public Security Ministry had congratulated the
Cangzhou police department for finally nabbing Yang, the newspaper said.
Chinese 'serial killer' arrested
Saturday, 15 November, 2003
China's Hebei province have arrested a man suspected of murdering at
least 65 people, local media say.
identified as Yang Zhiya, was apprehended as police inspected an
entertainment venue in the northern city of Cangzhou on 3 November.
They later discovered that he was wanted for murder
in three other provinces.
Correspondents say this could be the deadliest case
of individual mass murder in China's recent history.
Such cases are not widely reported in China as the
country sees itself as being mostly free of the types of violent crimes
often reported in the West.
The media said that Yang wanted to take revenge on
society after being dumped by his girlfriend.
She had left him because of previous sentences he
served in prison and reform camp for robbery and rape.
Yang was arrested in a routine operation because he
But police found that he was wanted in the provinces
of Anhui, Shandong and Henan, as well as in Hebei itself.
Yang's alleged victims were said to be mainly farmers.
"His methods were extremely cruel," Guangzhou Daily
newspaper said in an article on Saturday.
"He didn't leave survivors, and more than a few
families were exterminated by his hand."
Beijing's Ministry of Public Security, which has some
jurisdiction over cases involving several provinces, congratulated
Cangzhou police on their success.
But the ministry made no further comment on the
Man Arrested For 65 Murders
November 15, 2003
An ex-convict dumped by his girlfriend has
been arrested and linked to the stabbing murders of 65 people in several
provinces, a report here on Saturday in what could be the deadliest case
of individual mass murder in the country's recent history.
Yang Zhiya, who also goes by the aliases
Yang Liu and Yang Xinhai, was apprehended on Nov. 3 in the northern
Chinese province of Hebei, not far from Beijing. It said Yang, who had
served time in prison in the past for unspecified crimes, has been
accused of killing people in the provinces of Henan, Anhui, Shandong and
Hebei because he "desperately wanted to retaliate against society."
Details of the victims'
identities or the exact circumstances of their deaths were not
immediately available. No further information on Yang was given, either,
nor was it clear whether he had actually been charged with any of the
central government's Ministry of Public Security, which would have some
jurisdiction over the case because the killings took place in several
provinces, had no immediate comment.
Yang began the murders
after his girlfriend broke up with him, the newspaper said, quoting
police. It said he went from city to city on his killing spree,
sometimes traveling between towns by bicycle.
He was detained after
acting suspicious at a recreation center in Cangzhou, a city in Hebei.
Police took him in for questioning and determined - to their surprise -
that he was on the wanted list.
It said Cangzhou police had been
congratulated by the Ministry of Public Security for apprehending Yang.
In September, Bai Jingfu, the country's vice minister of public security,
said that despite the government's 5-year-old "strike hard" anti-crime
campaign, "violent crime was still occurring in some places and certain
illegal forces still existed."
Chinese serial killer struck 65 times, say
15 november 2003
POLICE in China say that they have arrested a
man who killed at least 65 people after his girlfriend broke up with him.
If convicted, Wang Ganggang — who has served
time in prison and labour camps for robbery and rape — would be
China’s most prolific serial killer. He is said to have murdered
mostly farmers. He used several aliases, including Yang Zhiya.
“His girlfriend broke up with him and as a
result, Yang Zhiya developed a vengeful attitude towards society and
committed the crimes in Henan, Anhui, and Shandong,” one official
report said. He was “extremely cruel” in his methods, usually
leaving no one alive to bear witness to his crime.
Rising violent crime is a particularly
sensitive subject in China, since the Communist Party bases some of
its legitimacy to rule on its claim to be the supreme guardian of
In many cases, state media will report a
major case only after an arrest has been made. Unsolved cases simply go
Newspapers reported this month that a couple
had been arrested in Shenzhen in southern China in connection with
the robbery and murders of 12 women who were lured to their deaths
with the promise of a job. Police also said that a Chinese man had
confessed to raping at least 37 elderly women, some of them in their
90s, because they were “easy to control”.
Mr Wang was arrested on November 3 in
Cangzhou, Hebei province, during a routine police inspection of
entertainment venues, the official Xinhua news agency’s website said.
Police arrested him because he appeared suspicious, but later realised
that he was wanted for murder in four provinces.
“It’s at least 65,” Shi Guizhong, director of
the Hebei Public Security Bureau’s propaganda division, said. “Even
though the case was cracked in Hebei, it involves several provinces, so
it’s up to the Ministry of Public Security to release information.”
Another police officer in the Hebei Public Security Bureau said that the
case broke all records.
“Everyone in the department has heard about
it. It could be the biggest murder case since the founding of the
People’s Republic of China,” the officer said.
The increase in violent crime has been attributed by some observers
to rapid changes in the socio-economic fabric of Chinese society,
widening the gap between rich and poor.
Chinese serial killer suspect arrested
Police have arrested
a man suspected of killing at least 65 people in a serial murder case
rarely seen in China.
The man, an ex-convict identified as
Wang Ganggang, was arrested on 3 November in Hebei province's Cangzhou
city during a routine police inspection of entertainment venues, the
official Xinhua news agency reported on Friday.
"It's at least 65 (victims)," Shi Guizhong, director
of the Hebei Public Security Bureau's propaganda division said.
"Even though the case was cracked in Hebei, it
involves several provinces, so it's up to the Ministry of Public
Security to release information," Shi said, refusing to provide more
Police arrested Wang because he
appeared suspicious, but later realised he was wanted for homicides in
Wang, who used several
pseudonyms, including Yang Zhiya, had also seriously injured four other
A police officer who works in the Hebei Public
Security Bureau said it could be the biggest murder case in recent
Most of the victims were
farmers, he said, adding that the case was still being investigated.
Wang had been sentenced to
prison and to reform-through-labour camps for robberies and rape, the
agency said, quoting media reports.
"His girlfriend broke up with
him because of this and as a result, Yang Zhiya developed a vengeful
attitude towards society and committed the crimes," it said, quoting the
Yanzhao Dushi newspaper.
was "extremely cruel" in his methods, usually leaving no witness alive
Wang later fled north to Hebei where he carried out
additional murders, including in the city of Shijiazhuang, where he
killed two people. Shijiazhuang is located only about three hours drive
Mass murders are rare in China, but they and other
violent crimes are becoming increasingly common.
Earlier this month, state media reported a couple had
been arrested in southern China's Shenzhen city in connection with the
robbery and murders of 12 women who were lured to their deaths with the
promise of a job.
Friday police said a Chinese man had confessed to raping at least 37
elderly women, some of them in their 90s, because they "are easy to