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August 8, 2009

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Maid says she killed ex-scholar

A LIVE-IN maid has confessed to the gruesome murder of an 88-year-old former professor, saying she killed him in a dispute over money, police in Shanghai said yesterday.

Changning District police apprehended the maid, Fang Huifang, in her hometown in neighboring Jiangsu Province, 10 hours after the victim's body was discovered in his fifth-floor apartment on Gubei Road on Thursday morning.

Fang, in her fifties, nearly severed the head of Shao Wangyu, a retired professor from the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade, and chopped off his right hand, police said.

Fang will be charged with murder, according to authorities.

In her confession, Fang said "marriage and property problems" were the motives for the killing. She had frequent conflicts with Shao and murdered him on Wednesday, police said.

"Fang was mainly after money," said a Changning District police officer who asked to remain anonymous.

A neighbor surnamed Liu said Shao and Fang slept in the same bed and she had served him for 18 years. Shao reportedly told neighbors he had sold an apartment for more than 2 million yuan (US$292,600) and promised to give Fang some of the money.

Surveillance video showed Fang leaving the apartment with a bag on Wednesday afternoon. Shao's body was discovered by a neighbor the next day.

Police determined that Fang boarded a long-distance bus departing Shanghai for Liyang in Jiangsu Province. She was caught at her mother's home about 8:30pm on Thursday.

Earlier media reports said that maids who run errands and provide sexual services for elderly men were working in Jiangsu, Shaanxi and Heilongjiang provinces, touching off property disputes and public controversy.

Last year in Tianjin in China's north, a maid was sentenced to 12 years in jail for killing the 77-year-old employer she lived with by giving him adulterated medicine and withdrawing 80,000 yuan from his bank account.


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