China launches manhunt for fugitive armed robber



China launches manhunt for fugitive armed robber Beijing: Chinese authorities have launched a massive hunt for a fugitive armed robber who is accused of killing nine people, including a police officer, since 2004.

Police in China's southwest Chongqing municipality today confirmed that one of its officers was gunned down while pursuing suspect Zhou Kehua in the city's suburbs on Friday.

The latest development has added to the terror caused by the 42-year-old gunman, who has been known to target people withdrawing money from banks and become an expert at dodging police manhunts, a municipal law enforcement official said.

Over the past eight years, Zhou has been suspected of killing nine people, including the police officer, and wounding five others in the cities of Chongqing, Nanjing and Changsha, the official said.

Zhou is a "class-A" wanted suspect by the Ministry of Public Security.

The bounty placed on his head currently stands at 5.4 million yuan (USD 850,393), according to media reports.

Chinese laws ban the private possession of firearms.

Crimes involving firearms, though rare, often attract a great deal of public attention.

"We have not seen this kind of cold-blooded killer in years," said the police official, who declined to be named.

PTI