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January 25, 2011

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Girlfriend No. 3 killed for a debt

WHEN Lin Xiafu strangled his girlfriend it was the third time he'd attacked a lover.

In 1983, the Shanghai native was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve for killing his girlfriend. He was released on medical grounds in 1986.

In 1995, Lin was back in court. This time for attempting to kill his latest girlfriend. She survived, and he was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

Yesterday, the 55-year-old was again in court. This time he admitted strangling his current girlfriend, surnamed Wang, over a debt.

Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court heard that Lin had worked as a cleaner in a local hospital after he was set free in 2006. He had been introduced to Wang, an Anhui Province native, in April 2009 by a friend and the pair soon decided to live together.

"She asked me to offer her a place to live because she had to live with her ex-husband after divorce and she was anxious to escape from him," Lin said.

Their relationship was a good one until January 2010, the court heard.

Wang began to stay away from home on occasion and was often asking for money. Lin told the court he suspected she had another boyfriend.

On August 8, Wang let slip that she visited Huangshan Mountain with another man and his daughter and spent all the 3,000 yuan (US$455) Lin had given her.

Lin was furious and asked her to return the 10,000 yuan he had lent her so she could invest in her brother's restaurant.

"I had borrowed the money from my colleague and I had to pay it back," Lin told the court. "I asked her to return part of the debt first but she refused."

Lin became so angry he strangled Wang when she was about to leave.

Lin put the body on his bed and went to work the next day as usual.

"I planned to commit suicide after I got my salary on August 15 and paid the debt," he said.

Lin confessed everything to his brother, who went with him to the police.

The court, which didn't reveal details about Lin's previous two convictions, said psychological tests showed that Lin was mentally normal and could bear full responsibility for his crime. The court didn't announce a sentence yesterday.


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