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February 22, 2010

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Serial murderer receives death penalty

A SERIAL killer was sentenced to death yesterday in south China's Guangdong Province over a rampage that included 13 murders and 10 incidents of rape, some involving teenage girls.

Cheng Ruilong, a 37-year-old Guangdong Province native, was found guilty by Foshan City Intermediate People's Court of multiple homicides, robberies, rape, and extortion in six provinces since his first crime in May 1996.

Cheng Ruilong said in court he killed his victims "in order to survive."

The court was told Cheng Ruilong had stolen 288,610 yuan (US$42,262) from people since he first fled arrest 14 years ago.

Cheng Ruilong, Lan Qirong, Cheng Sheng and Cheng Haifang broke into a house in Foshan in 1996 and tried to extort 178,000 yuan from the home's owner.

Lan, who has since been executed, stole a gun from a police officer after he bashed him to death.

Cheng Shen is now serving a prison sentence and Cheng Haifang was shot dead when resisting arrest.

Cheng Ruilong, carrying a number of fake identities, fled with the gun.

He committed five more robberies and killed seven people when he was on the run.

He also killed three police officers and a security guard while resisting arrest.

He was found guilty of raping an eighth-grade schoolgirl before killing her in 1999.

In 2005, Cheng Ruilong turned up in Jiangxi Province where he was sentenced to seven years in prison after being caught in a robbery.

He was serving his sentence under the fake name Zhou Quan until a set of fingerprints issued by China's Ministry of Public Security identified the prisoner as the notorious serial killer.

Cheng Ruilong was said to have used more than a dozen fake names in his flight and even cut his face several times to conceal his identity.

Guangdong police said they would cooperate with three other provinces to examine his criminal mind and psychological history to find what contributed to his heinous spree.

Cheng Ruilong did not indicate yesterday whether he would appeal.


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