Ac­cused se­rial killer stands trial Hear­ing closed over ‘cruel’ way fe­male vic­tims died, of­fi­cial says

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By CAO YIN caoyin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The trial of sus­pected se­rial killer Gao Chengy­ong got un­der­way on Tues­day be­hind closed doors in Gansu prov­ince.

Baiyin In­ter­me­di­ate Peo­ple’s Court had not is­sued a state­ment on the case as of 6 pm, and it was un­known whether Gao, 52, has pleaded guilty to any of the charges he faces, in­clud­ing mur­der, rape, rob­bery and mu­ti­la­tion of a corpse.

Pros­e­cu­tors said be­fore the trial that the de­fen­dant had con­fessed to a num­ber of crimes, in­clud­ing killing 10 women and an 8-year-old girl in Gansu and the In­ner Mon­go­lia au­ton­o­mous re­gion be­tween May 1988 and Fe­bru­ary 2002.

Al­though the case was not open to the pub­lic, the court an­nounced the pros­e­cu­tion on May 2 and dis­closed the time and place of the hear­ing via Sina Weibo.

On Mon­day, it also held a news con­fer­ence in Baiyin to re­spond to sev­eral much-dis­cussed is­sues, such as why the hear­ing has come al­most a year af­ter the sus­pect was ar­rested.

“The case is com­pli­cated, as the killings took place from the 1980s to the 2000s, and the de­fen­dant is ac­cused of mul­ti­ple of­fenses ... which is why we have not heard about it un­til now,” ju­di­cial of­fi­cial Teng Wenx­i­ang said.

Un­der Chi­nese law gov­ern­ing case pro­ce­dures, a ba­sic prin­ci­ple for a hear­ing is trans­parency, ex­cept for

Briefly

cases re­lat­ing to State se­crets and pri­vacy, he said.

“This case in­volves sev­eral fe­male vic­tims, and the way they were killed was cruel. Con­sid­er­ing these fac­tors, we de­cided not to hear it pub­licly,” he said.

Teng es­ti­mated the hear­ing would last two and a half days be­cause of its com­plex­ity and high pro­file, but said the tim­ing would de­pend on whether Gao pleaded guilty.

“The judg­ment is ex­pected at a later date,” he added.

Un­der Chi­nese law, peo­ple who com­mit homi­cide, rob­bery and rape face a pos­si­ble death sen­tence.

The cell­phone of Zhu Aimin, Gao’s lawyer, was pow­ered off on Tues­day.

The case was thrust into the pub­lic eye last year when Baiyin po­lice dis­cov­ered ev­i­dence, in­clud­ing DNA, that iden­ti­fied Gao as a sus­pect in the killings. In pre­lim­i­nary in­ter­ro­ga­tions, po­lice said Gao con­fessed but gave no mo­tive.

De­tails re­leased by the po­lice said the vic­tims were all young women dressed in red, and Gao raped them and killed them by cut­ting their throats af­ter fol­low­ing them home.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

A screen grab shows Gao Chengy­ong as he is es­corted to court in Baiyin, Gansu prov­ince.

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