Crime news including the latest on murder cases, the hunt for serial killers, triads, court cases and trials, shootings, burglary, armed robbery and corruption.

 

She was brutally murdered in the US. Now her life is remembered in film
Zhang Yingying was 26 years old when she left China for the US as a visiting scholar to study climate change on crop yields in mid-2017. Just six weeks after she arrived in a new country, with its unfamiliar culture and language, Zhang disappeared, never to be seen again. In June that year, police arrested a former physics PhD candidate, Brendt Christensen, after surveillance footage showed that Zhang had entered a car driven by him. A jury later found him guilty of murder and he was sentenced to life in a federal prison. Prosecutors said he raped her and murdered her using a baseball bat and a knife. Zhang’s disappearance sent shockwaves through Chinese students in the US. Before Christense
Chinese buyers of face masks have lost $28 million in scams
Chen Xiaobai, a graphic designer from Changsha city in southern China’s Hunan province, has been running a WeChat messaging group since the beginning of February called The Victims of Online Masks Fraud. The group has attracted about 170 members, all of whom had been cheated out of money while trying to buy face masks online to protect themselves or other people from the spread of the novel coronavirus. Online fraud has a long history, but fears about the coronavirus outbreak and a shortage of masks have brought swindlers a fresh pool of potential victims among China’s 800 million internet users. With the demand for masks far exceeding the supply many have no choice but to turn to private c
Death sentence for man who killed two officials at coronavirus roadblock
A Chinese man was sentenced to death over the weekend for fatally stabbing two officials at a roadblock set up to contain the spread of the coronavirus in early February. A court in the southwestern province of Yunnan handed down the death sentence to 23-year-old Ma Jianguo on Sunday for the stabbings, which occurred on February 6. In a statement, the Intermediate People’s Court in Honghe Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture said: “Ma ignored national laws when Yunnan was at the most critical stage of a public health emergency. [He] ignored virus control policies, leading to the serious consequence of two lives being taken away. Such behavior is considered intentional murder.” Ma was traveling
Illegal wildlife traders evade consequences as pangolins face extinction
Sometime in the middle of 2017, Hong Kong businessman Wong Muk-nam disappeared without a trace. The 62-year-old owned a plastic trading factory in Guangdong, according to a friend who lives in the southern Chinese province but refused to reveal his name. “We were chatting on WeChat, but suddenly he was out of reach,” he recalled. “No responses to messages, phone calls. It was really unusual because he always responded quickly.” Then Wong’s name turned up as a key suspect in an international syndicate smuggling pangolin scales and ivory from Africa. According to mainland court documents, Wong and his associates smuggled at least three shipments of more than 4.4 ton of pangolin scales worth $
China has a problem with people throwing trash off tall buildings
The last thing Shanghai man Tony Qian expected while walking with his wife on grassland below the 28-floor residential buildings of their community was to be hit by a falling piece of dog excrement. And yet, as he looked up to see where the foul missile had come from, he saw a tissue fluttering to the ground which, on closer inspection, was stained with the same muck which had struck him on the shoulder. Qian was lucky. There have been numerous reports in recent years of critical injuries and deaths caused by people flinging dangerous items – including a bicycle, stroller and even a kitchen knife – from their high-rise windows. But his efforts to bring the poo perpetrator to justice went now
Man gets manslaughter in Vancouver after chopping victim into 108 pieces
A man who killed a Chinese millionaire before chopping him into 108 pieces has been found not guilty of the businessman’s murder, after a judge ruled that the intent to kill had not been proved. British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Terence Schultes instead found Zhao Li, 59, guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter, as well as interfering with human remains. Outside the court on Tuesday, Zhao’s lawyer Ian Donaldson praised the ruling and said his client was a “completely normal” man, whose actions on May 2, 2015, were considered “unthinkable” by those who knew him. Zhao, an experienced hunter, did not dispute having shot dead Yuan Gang, 42, with a rifle in the driveway of his Vancouver
Prominent Chinese pastor sentenced to 9 years in prison
A founding pastor of China’s Early Rain Covenant Church has been sentenced to nine years in jail by a Chinese court for inciting subversion of state power and other crimes. Wang Yi was detained in December 2018 along with other senior figures in the prominent underground Christian church during overnight raids across various districts of Chengdu, the southwestern city where the church was founded. On Monday, the Chengdu Intermediate People’s Court released its judgment, which said the pastor was also convicted of illegal business operations. In addition to the jail term, Wang would be stripped of his political rights for three years. Personal assets valuing $7,000 would also be confiscated.
China says it’ll stop detaining sex workers for up to 2 years without trial
China’s extrajudicial detention of sex workers or their customers, known as “custody and education (C&E),” is set to be abolished in what experts called a long-overdue move. The detention system has been used to crack down on prostitution, which is illegal on the mainland, since the 1980s. Sex workers and their clients could be detained for up to two years without trial in centers overseen by the police. More than 300,000 people were detained using C&E between 1987 and 2000, according to a report by Asia Catalyst, an advocacy group focused on health issues. Although the government does not publish regular numbers of detainees, mainland Chinese media have reported a steady decrease in detenti
The rise and fall of Hong Kong socialite Azura
On October 15, 2018, 46-year-old tech expert Jason, from New York, flew to Hong Kong on a week-long business trip.  He checked into a room at the Four Seasons, in Central, and when a lunch appointment was canceled, he happily nursed an afternoon drink at the hotel’s Pool Bar. “Then I looked up,” he recalls, “and this incredible, striking woman walked in.” Jason remembers her warmly embracing the waitstaff, who responded with a fawning adoration reserved for regular clients. “She was shown to the table next to me, we made eye contact, she smiled, and that was it,” Jason says. Newly separated from his wife, his enchantment could be forgiven. Her lips were full, her flowing, lust­rous hair fram
Hong Kong police say bombers planned to target officers at weekend rally
Detectives in Hong Kong investigating the seizure of two powerful home-made bombs at a school campus believe they were intended for an attack on police at a democracy march that happened at the weekend, sources said on Tuesday. The apparent bomb plot, revealed amid long-running anti-government unrest, prompted a police union to describe the city’s security situation as at its “most alarming” in decades, even worse than during a wave of armed robberies in the 1990s. Force insiders believed the would-be bombers were forced to abandon the attack planned for Sunday after a group of their associates were arrested in a police swoop that morning, hours before the march – which attracted hundreds of