'China's Most Dangerous Man' Zhou Kehua Hunted

Lisa Holland, Foreign Affairs Correspondent, in Beijing
'China's Most Dangerous Man' Zhou Kehua Hunted

A huge manhunt is under way in China for a fugitive armed robber accused of killing nine people.

The 42-year-old suspect has been dubbed "the most dangerous man in China" by the country's state-run media.

Police say Zhou Kehua targets people withdrawing money from banks and has been on the run since 2004.

The China Daily said he had shot a woman dead outside a bank in the southwestern city of Chongqing last Friday morning. He apparently injured another two people in the incident before killing a police officer.

According to the paper "large numbers" of police are searching a mountain in Chongqing where the suspect is believed to be hiding.

Zhou's crime spree began when he shot and killed a woman in a £7,000 bank heist in Chongqing in 2004, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Police believe he is also responsible for shootings in Changsha, in China's central Hunan province, and Nanjing in Jiangsu province in the east.

A reward of 500,000 yuan (£50,000) is on offer but authorities have warned residents not to try to tackle or arrest the suspect. One police source said: "He is ruthless and highly dangerous."

Gun crime is relatively rare in China, where private gun ownership is almost is almost totally barred. Although crime is common, it is unusual to hear of crimes involving guns.

And it is quite rare to see the state media asking for the public's help in hunting down a suspected criminal. Normally if there is such a hunt it takes place away from public sight and it only gets publicised after the suspect has been caught.