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Yang Xinhai, The Most Prolific Known Chinese Serial Killer

Yang Xinhai (杨新海, born 29 July 1968, Zhengyang County, Henan, China; Died 14 February 2004, aged 35, Luohe, Henan China) confessed to committing 67 murders and 23 rapes between 1999 and 2003 in various Chinese provinces. 

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He was nicknamed the Monster Killer by the media because of his heinousness. Yang was known by several names: Wang Ganggang, Yang Zhiya, and Yang Liu. Yang’s childhood began in a village of two thousand houses in Henan, Zhumadian, in Zhengyang County. He was the youngest of four siblings and his family was one of the poorest in the village. He has been described as a very intelligent, but introverted and sociopathic young man. In 1985, at the age of 17, he dropped out of school, refused to return home, and began his wanderings around China, working as a pieceworker. Three years later he had his first trouble with the law and was sent to a work camp for having committed a series of thefts in Xian, in Shaanxi, and Shijiazhuang, in Hebei. In 1996, he was arrested for attempted rape in Zhumadian, his home village. He served three years in prison. During this time something happens in Yang’s mind. Once free, he began an endless series of murders and rapes that will stain Chinese news for the next 4 years. The provinces of Anhui, Hebei, Henan, and Shandong were hit by a wave of crimes never seen before.

The modus operandi at first is always the same. Yang slips into victims’ homes at night, killing all occupants with improvised weapons (axes, hammers, and shovels). Sometimes he slaughters entire families. Each time, after the murders, he shows up in new clothes, often wearing shoes that are too big. In October 2002, Yang killed a father and his six-year-old daughter with a shovel, then raped his pregnant wife who managed to survive the assault, sustaining numerous head injuries. On December 6 he massacred an entire family (grandmother, parents, and two children) in the village of Liuzhuang in Henan. The details were told by the grandfather, Liu Zhongyuan. In the words of the elderly man, three days later they were supposed to move to their new home. The grandfather discovered the crime when he entered the old house to visit his grandchildren and found his granddaughter lying on the floor with a hole in her head.

The room was completely bloody. Liu Zhongyuan’s wife was still alive, but she died ten days later from the injuries she received and was no longer able to speak. Yang Xinhai later confessed that in that case, he killed the family with a hammer, which he then buried in a grave that same night after throwing his clothes into a river. Then, he walked to the nearby town of Luohe, about two hours away. This was not the only time. On several occasions, Yang slaughtered entire households in similar ways: In Anhui, on October 1, 2000 (3 victims, 1 rape), on August 15, 2001, in Henan (3 victims, 1 rape), on January 6, 2002, in Henan (5 victims, 1 rape), on June 30, 2002, in Henan (4 victims, 1 rape), on July 28, 2002 (4 victims, 2 rapes), on November 8, 2002, in his home village (4 victims, 2 rapes, 1 injured), on December 15, 2002, in Anhui (3 victims, 1 injured), on February 5, 2003 (3 victims, 1 rape, 1 injured), on February 18, 2003 (4 victims, 2 rapes), on March 23 in Kaifeng, Henan (4 victims, 1 rape), on August 8, 2003, in Shijiazhuang (5 victims).

Yang Taozhuang, Runanbu Town, Zhengyang County, Yang Xinhai’s parents lived in two small houses in their own family. Photo by reporter Qin Bin

The Monster Killer 

On November 3, 2003, Yang was arrested by a police patrol during a routine inspection of some entertainment centers in Cangzhou, Hebei. Once at the station, the officers discovered he was wanted for murder in four provinces. Yang confessed rather quickly. His short but intense criminal career left a long trail of blood in the provinces he visited: 49 murders and 17 rapes in Henan: eight murders and three rapes in Hebei: six murders and two rapes in Anhui: two murders and one rape in Shandong. He often traveled between cities by bicycle. His DNA matched that found at the crime scene. On February 1 of the following year, Yang, at age 38, after refusing to appeal, was found guilty and sentenced to the death penalty.

Yang was executed on 14 February 2004 by firing squad.

When I kill, I feel the desire to kill again. This drives me to kill. I don’t care if my victims deserved to die or not. I don’t give a damn … I have no desire to be part of society. Society is not my problem.

According to some reports Yang was driven to kill to take revenge against society, guilty of having negatively influenced his relationship with the girlfriend. Later, other newspapers declared that his actions were dictated by more macabre motives: Yang took a morbid pleasure in stealing, killing, and raping. Although Yang has never really expressed the motivations that drove him to kill, there is an emblematic statement of his that helps us to understand the reason for his extreme and heinous acts: “When I kill, I feel the desire to kill again. This drives me to kill. I don’t care if my victims deserved to die or not. I don’t give a damn … I have no desire to be part of society. Society is not my problem.”

Source: wikipedia, il più sanguinario serial killer cinese, Xinhua, China Daily,

Last Updated on 2021/07/28

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