Robbery and murder suspects nailed after 14 years

Three suspects allegedly killed a man after robbing his home in a downtown Shanghai residential complex in 2004.

Three suspects in a robbery and murder case which took place in downtown Shanghai 14 years ago have been caught in another province, police said on Thursday.

Police first located one of the suspects when he was caught taking drugs last year. He went on to report the other two.

The suspects allegedly killed a 27-year-old man after robbing him at home.

The case took place on the morning of December 2, 2004, in a residential complex on Xietu Road in Xuhui District. The victim’s parents called police after returning home from work and finding their son dead and his home ransacked.

The victim had burst veins and stab wounds in his neck, according to police.

About 20,000 yuan (US$3,200) in cash and some other valuable objects were stolen.

Ti Gong

A picture of the crime scene in 2004.

Ti Gong

A picture of the crime scene.

The district police said they put a lot of efforts into the investigation but admitted to still having no leads six months after the murder.

But the case was never dropped, and a breakthrough came earlier this year when the biological information of a drug taker in Shandong Province successfully matched against a piece of evidence from the crime scene taken 14 years ago.

“None of the suspects had criminal records before that, which made it extremely hard for police to track them down,” said Hu Hai, the vice head of Xuhui District Criminal Police who has been on the case since day one.

The drug taker, a man surnamed Chang, was caught in Qingdao City, Shandong, on March 6. Based on his confession, two other suspects, a man surnamed Hu and another surnamed Jiang, were caught in Dongying City of the same province the next morning.

Ti Gong

Chang is caught in Qingdao, Shandong, on March 6.

Chang, who is now under detention, admitted that he was among the three who committed the robbery and murder.

“We planned to kill the person we were to rob for fear that they might recognize us later,” Chang said.

He said they chose an apartment at random and then one of the three made the victim open the door by claiming to be a property management worker.

Chang, 40 years old, was married in 2007 and has an eight-year-old child. He divorced last year.

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