Chinese Authorities Seize Man Suspected of Killing 8 People

Police in central China seized a man suspected of killing eight people, including a 2-year-old boy who was slain with an ax, state media reported Sunday.

The official Xinhua News Agency said authorities nabbed 35-year-old junk collector Xiong Zhenlin on Sunday in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province.

The report said Xiong confessed to police that he had killed eight people but did not say if he had been arrested or charged.

Xiong is accused of killing the boy, Zou Chuanshuo, and the child's grandmother Zhu Deqing, 43, last Sunday as well as six others.

Police were still investigating the motive behind the killings, but the report said neighbors told police that Xiong wanted to marry Zhu — a widow — but she turned him down.

The bodies of the boy and grandmother were found Monday in their home in Luoyang in Hubei province with head wounds that suggested the killer used an ax, Xinhua said.

Police discovered six other bodies — three men and three women — after searching Xiong's junkyard Monday. The six, between the ages of 45 and 69, were employees at his salvage operation but it wasn't clear when they had been killed. They found bloodstained axes and hammers on the premises.

Reports of violent crime are relatively rare in China, where private gun ownership is virtually banned, although there have been scattered cases of revenge attacks.