China Arrests Man Suspected of Killing 11

Although stories of serial killers are generally unknown, China has arrested a man suspected of killing 11 in Yunnan Province. Aside from murder, the suspect has been accused of dismembering, burning, and burying the bodies. The Washington Post reports:

 The Ministry of Public Security said in a statement Sunday that 56-year-old Zhang Yongming was arrested by police in Yunnan province on murder charges.

It said Zhang is suspected of attacking male victims who were walking alone on a quiet road near his home in Jinning county.

The case is believed to be related to media reports this past week that at least eight young people had gone missing in the county.

The reports sparked a public outcry because they cited relatives of the missing as saying that police ignored their pleas for help and prevented them from contacting the media.

Other reports are calling the suspect the ‘cannibal monster.’ The Daily Telegraph adds:

 It said Zhang, a loner who never talked to his neighbours, had previously served almost 20 years in jail for murder and was known in the village as the “cannibal monster”.

And it quoted residents as saying they had seen green plastic bags hanging from his home, with what appeared to be white bones protruding from the top.

Hong Kong newspaper The Standard said police discovered human eyeballs preserved inside wine bottles – “like snake wine” – and pieces of what appeared to be human flesh hanging up to dry when they entered Zhang’s home.

Police feared that Zhang had fed human flesh to his three dogs, while selling other parts on the market, calling it “ostrich meat”, according to The Standard.

According to AFP, reports on nonpolitical crimes hardly face restrictions, but cannibalism seems to be a sensitive subject:

 Almost all last week’s reports on the grisly case — which made headlines around the world — were later removed from Chinese websites and online searches for the words “missing in Yunnan” were also blocked.

Cannibalism is a particularly sensitive subject in China, where it was practised as a survival tactic during periods of mass starvation, for example in the wake of a failed industrialisation drive launched in the late 1950s.

“A large amount of physical evidence and DNA comparisons show that Zhang Yongming from Nanmen village, Jinning county, killed the 11 males,” Sunday’s report said, citing the ministry of public security.