Case Studies
Yang Xinhai: China’s Very Own Monstrous Killer

Yang Xinhai: China’s Very Own Monstrous Killer

Pretty architecture, finger-licking cuisines, and culture are not the only features of China possesses. Around the period 1999-2000, China was celebrated, criticized, and contemplated across the world for the disastrous series of killings that took place. One more interesting and quite curious name was added to the list of serial killers from China known as Yang Xinhai.

Born on 29, July 1961, in Midland Zhengyang county, Hunan, China, Yang Xinhai was convicted of sixty-seven murders and twenty-three rapes which were carried out for a period of four years between 1999-2003. He was the youngest among the four of them and belonged to a poor family in their village.

Being an introvert since childhood he hardly had friends due to which much information on him could not be collected by the police other than from a few people and his family members. This extremely clever child however dropped out of school at the age of 17 and refused to go back home. He wandered around the country, performing laborer jobs.

Xinhai’s criminal career did not start with the murders around 1999, he was arrested occasionally even before his murders for thefts in and around his labor camps. Labor camp workers found him to be a regular man other than the occasional troubles of robbery. But never could they ever imagine him to be a monster serial killer and rapist.

The Deadly Night

On the night of 19 September 2000, two girls were found dead in the city by the police during the patrol. Post mortem report revealed that the victims were brutally raped and killed through stabs. However, they could not establish the weapon other than finding it to be a blunt object.

In the following weeks, two to three murders occurred and the only evidence they received was a fingerprint and thankfully it was a pretty impressive one. The latent print led them to Xinhai. He was convicted of five murders and two rapes and was booked for trial. However, the trial witnessed a confession of brutal killings which shocked the entire country and worldwide.

Yang confessed to having killed around 67 people among which 23 of them included rape. He was sentenced to death and executed by the firing squad in 2004

Modus Operandi of Yang Xinhai

The staunch introvert hardly spoke about anything to the doctors, advocates, or even his own family who visited him. The psychologists who observed him concluded that there was no issue with his mental health which was surprising.

Some people believed that he had a history of a break-up. He had only one girl in his life who broke up with him due to her career choices.

In his criminal career, Yang targeted men as well as women. The modus operandi at first is always the same. Yang slips into the homes of victims at night, killing all occupants with improvised weapons (axes, hammers, and shovels). Sometimes he would slaughter an entire family.

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, 2002 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.

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. 

The confession however created a frenzy across the people. He was soon tagged as the “China’s Monster”. People threw stones at him while en route to the prison and burned his floats.

It’s been seventeen years since the monster was executed. However, even now the country looks back at the incidents with chills running across their spine.

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