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Killer Countdown Day 12: The Most Brutal Serial Killer In Chinese History

OCTOBER 29, 2015  —  By Mike Cahill  
Mike Cahill

Mike Cahill

Mike is ViralNova's resident Editor of the Weird. If it makes you say "OMG! That's terrible!!!" then Mike probably wrote it. Despite the subject of his articles Mike is surprisingly well adjusted. When he's not writing, he's making music, performing, and producing podcasts.

We'll be profiling 13 serial killers over the course of the 13 days leading up to Halloween. Today, we meet China's worst serial killer. Have any suggestions for our list? Send them to me at mcahill@viralnova.com.

China is the most populous country on Earth, so why do we mostly just hear about American and European serial killers? I suppose there are a variety of reasons for that, but just because we don't hear about China's mass murderers doesn't mean that they don't exist. Today, we'll meet a killer who went down in history as China's most prolific murderer, Yang Xinhai.

Xinhai began his life as a poor villager in China's Henan Province.

As the youngest of four children, Xinhai was said to be an extremely clever, introverted boy. By all accounts, he was a normal child. At age 17, Xinhai dropped out of school and traveled around the country as a hired laborer.

While he was traveling, Xinhai became a casual criminal. That choice came back to haunt him in 1988.

After a failed theft attempt, Xinhai was arrested and sent to a labor camp. This happened to the killer again in 1991. In 1996, he was sentenced to five years in a normal prison for attempted rape. Somehow, he was able to appeal, and he got out in 1999. That's when something snapped. That year, he began his killing spree.

Most of Xinhai's murders took place in the provinces of Anhui, Hebei, Henan, and Shandong (pictured below).

Xinhai entered people's homes after dark. He then moved from room to room and brutally murdered everyone in sight. Xinhai used a combination of axes, hammers, and shovels to kill his victims. He also raped all of the women.

Needless to say, his crime scenes were horrific.

Despite the brutality of his crimes, Xinhai was able to continue killing with impunity from 1999 to 2003. To avoid capture, Xinhai said that he wore new clothes for each expedition. He even went so far as to wear new shoes in different sizes to confuse police. It's believed that Xinhai was able to kill at least 67 people in this way before police accidentally caught up with him in 2003.

It was a stroke of luck that allowed police to capture the mass murderer.

During a routine inspection of a nightclub back in 2003, police saw Xinhai acting suspiciously. They took him in for questioning, and it was there that Xinhai broke down and confessed to his crimes. Doing their due diligence, police were able to match Xinhai's DNA to that found at each crime scene.

Xinhai never revealed his motive.

Some claimed that Xinhai's killings were done out of revenge against society for his girlfriend breaking up with him. Other reports claimed that Xinhai just loved killing people. Regardless of the motive, the man was clearly unstable.

According to his relatives -- who now live in Pennsylvania -- Xinhai had always been rapt with violent fantasies. Before the killing spree, Xinhai often sketched out insanely violent images in notebooks that he always carried around with him.

Fortunately, his trial was a swift one.

The trial, which took place in 2004, lasted less than an hour. He was found guilty on all charges and sentenced to death. Xinhai waived his right to an appeal and awaited execution. On Feb 14, 2004, Xinhai was executed by unknown means. Prisoners in China are often executed by lethal injection or firing squad.

(via: China Daily)

Just let that number of victims sink in...67 people. That is a disturbingly large amount of people to kill, especially for someone whose main method of doing so was that brutal.