Police in Wuhan hunt for murderer after local official and 6 others killed in early hours

·3-min read

Police are searching for the murderer of seven people, including a local official who was killed at his home, in Wuhan in central China in the early hours of Monday morning.

Xiaosi township’s acting party secretary Zhang Qihong was killed along with four members of his family, including two children.

The district’s Public Security Bureau alleges a 39-year-old resident surnamed Gao of Luohan village, in Xiaosi township, used a knife to murder the party secretary and others before fleeing Zhang’s home with an injury around 1am on October 25, according to an official announcement published on the bureau’s website.

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It is alleged Zhang and his wife were killed in their living room, followed soon after by Zhang’s daughter-in-law when she carried a child aged under 12 months downstairs, according to Cover News, a local newspaper.

Two of Zhang’s grandchildren died upstairs. Police arriving at the scene found one of Zhang’s grandchildren, a seven-year-old boy, still breathing and he was admitted to hospital.

The PSB statement alleged Gao killed two others after leaving Zhang’s home and before jumping off a bridge into the Yangtze River around 6am. Police did not give details about those two deaths but witnesses alleged the suspect killed a driver and ran down a passer-by with a vehicle.

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The scene in the home was discovered by Zhang’s younger brother, who declined to be named but said the night before his family members were killed he had seen a man in his thirties approach the house, calling out to the party secretary that they had “business” to attend to. The junior Zhang assumed the man was there to run errands and did not alert anyone.

Xiaosi township has a population of 20,157, according to China’s 2020 population census, and as a primarily agricultural town it struggled with exports during the Covid-19 pandemic, which first broke out in Wuhan in late 2019.

According to a public report from the village district’s news centre, Zhang began to serve as a cadre representative of the village in 1991 and oversaw flood control measures.

He received a formal warning against “micro-corruption” from Wuhan’s police commission on March 27, 2017. In early 2016, Zhang had claimed 1,920 yuan (US$300) of the village’s resettlement and winter living subsidies to give his nephew, even though the younger man did not meet conditions for financial assistance.

Zhang became the acting party branch secretary of the village last July when the then-secretary vacated his seat for undisclosed reasons.

Police are investigating the deaths and have not made any arrests.

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