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Woman sentenced to death for series of killings

By CAO YIN | China Daily | Updated: 2021-09-10 08:59

A woman who spent about 20 years on the run after being involved in multiple killings has been sentenced to death by a court in Jiangxi province.

Born in 1974, Lao Rongzhi was convicted of multiple counts of intentional homicide, kidnapping and robbery and was given the death penalty by the Nanchang Intermediate People's Court on Thursday after it combined the punishments. The court also stripped Lao of her political rights and ordered that all her personal property be confiscated.

Lao said she would appeal the ruling.

The court said Lao and her ex-boyfriend Fa Ziying worked together while committing the crimes between 1996 and 1999. Lao sought targets at entertainment venues, with Fa responsible for the violence committed against them.

During the period, the pair participated in robberies, kidnappings and killings in Nanchang and in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, Changzhou, Jiangsu province, and Hefei, Anhui province, the court said, adding their actions caused seven deaths.

Fa was caught in 1999 and was sentenced to death and executed later that year.

Lao then became a fugitive and used false identities to evade capture until she was caught in Fujian province on Nov 28, 2019.

When the court heard the case in December last year, Lao, who used to be a primary school teacher in Jiangxi, said Fa had forced her to take part in the offenses. She also apologized to the victims' families and offered to pay them compensation.

But the court said on Thursday: "Although Lao confessed to the crimes, she can't be leniently punished, because the circumstances of her offenses were extremely serious, her means were extremely cruel and her motive was extremely vicious. She caused great personal damage and social harm, and the consequences of her crimes were extremely severe."

A number of people attended the ruling, including national lawmakers, political advisers and some of Lao's relatives.

Lao Shengqiao, her elder brother, told ThePaper.cn, an online news outlet, that he was not satisfied with the judgment, adding he supported his sister's appeal to a higher court.

"I don't believe my sister could kill such a number of people by cruel means," he was quoted as saying. "I'd like to help her pay compensation to the victims' families."

The only victim's family member who asked for compensation, Zhu Dahong, whose husband was killed in Hefei in 1998, attended the ruling on Thursday. The court ordered Lao to pay 48,000 yuan ($7,400) in civil compensation to Zhu.

Zhu said she was satisfied with the amount of money, even though she had applied for compensation of about 1.35 million yuan, ThePaper.cn reported.

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