Updated: 14/08/12 : 08:03:33Printable Version
The armed robber described as China's most dangerous man has been shot dead by police, according to state media.
Zhou Kehua, 42, is suspected of killing nine people and spent eight years on the run before being gunned down in the southwestern city of Chongqing early on Tuesday, the Xinhua news agency reported.
His death brings to an end the huge manhunt that began when Zhou reportedly shot and killed a woman outside a bank in Chongqing on Friday morning, before killing a police officer later that day.
Police in the city and two neighbouring provinces were ordered to cancel all leave to take part in the hunt for Zhou, and authorities offered a 500,000 yuan (€60,000) reward for information leading to his capture.
Xinhua said he was shot dead in Shapingba, a mountainous district on the outskirts of Chongqing where he was believed to be hiding after the Friday killings.
Zhou's crime spree began when he shot and killed a woman during a 70,000 yuan bank heist in Chongqing in 2004.
Police believe he was also responsible for shootings in Changsha, in China's central Hunan province, and Nanjing in the eastern province of Jiangsu, earning him the title "China's most dangerous man" in Chinese media.
Gun crime is relatively rare in China, where extremely tight laws bar almost all private ownership of firearms.
Sky’s foreign affairs correspondent Lisa Holland said the search operation was one of the biggest manhunts that China has ever seen.
"A huge amount of resources were thrown at this operation. It is rare to see the state media ask for the public's help in hunting down a suspected criminal.
"Usually if there is such a hunt it takes place away from public sight and it only gets publicised after the suspect has been caught."