Beijing: Chinese police have arrested a man believed to be a serial killer targeting mostly young males in southwest China`s Yunnan province and charged him with 11 murders.
A large amount of physical evidence and DNA comparisons show that Zhang Yongming from Nanmen village, Jinning county, killed the 11 males, the Ministry of Public Security said in a statement.
Unofficial reports said Zhang may have committed 17 murders and he targeted mostly young men.
The murders came to light while one case of murder was being investigated. Some local police officials were reported to have been suspended for dereliction of duty.
Following a 20-day-plus investigation launched by the ministry and local police authorities, the 56-year-old suspect was arrested on charges of murder, the statement said.
Zhang was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve for murder in 1979. He was freed and returned home in 1997 after receiving a number of sentence reductions, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The investigation shows that the alleged serial killer started to attack males who walked alone on the quiet road near his home where he lived alone since 2008.
The statement did not reveal the range of the victims` ages, but said local police authorities have contacted the victims` families.
After the murders, Zhang used various means, including dismemberment, burning and burial, to destroy the evidence, it said.
The Ministry of Public Security directed local officials to punish any police officers found to be guilty of dereliction of duty.
As the murders created panic, a central team of expert investigators was sent to the province to carry out investigations.