Female serial killer in China sentenced to death after two decades on the run
Published: Sep 09, 2021 11:56 PM
Rao Rongzhi at the court hearing scene in December 2020 Photo: The Paper

Rao Rongzhi at the court hearing scene in December 2020 Photo: The Paper

Lao Rongzhi, a woman who allegedly killed seven people and committed other heinous crimes, was sentenced to death on Thursday.

The Nanchang Intermediate People's Court in East China's Jiangxi Province convicted Lao of intentional homicide, kidnapping and robbery. The court also stripped her of her political rights and ordered that all her personal property be confiscated. After hearing the court's first instance verdict, Lao cried in court and said she would appeal the ruling, local media reported.

According to the People's Procuratorate of Nanchang city, between 1996 and 1999, Lao committed four kidnappings, robbery and murder in East China's Jiangxi, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Anhui provinces together with her then-boyfriend Fa Ziying, during which the two conspired and divided the work, with Lao working as a hostess in entertainment venues to find rich people to commit the crimes. Seven people were killed, and Lao was involved in killing five of them and robbing a large sum of money.

Fa was captured in Hefei, Anhui Province in 1999 and was sentenced to death. Lao then became a fugitive and used fake identities to evade, and was finally captured in Xiamen, East China's Fujian Province in December 2019 after nearly 20 years on the run.

During the trial which began in December, 46-year-old Lao repeatedly argued that collusion did not exist and that she was also a victim, saying that she was used and coerced by Fa when she was 21 years old. Lao said she was beaten and thought about suicide and escaping, but did not know who to ask for help and missed the opportunity, which eventually led to irreparable and unforgivable consequences. 

Lao tearfully apologized to the victim's family and offered to compensate.  

Lao's lawyer claimed in court that while the current criminal facts of Lao's alleged robbery and kidnapping were not disputed, the available evidence does not sufficiently prove that she caused the death of another person and intentional homicide.

After the trial, the court held that Lao's behavior constituted the crime of intentional homicide, robbery and kidnapping. At the same time, because Lao's criminal methods were particularly cruel, the purpose was extremely vicious, and the circumstances of her offenses were extremely serious. Although Lao confessed to the crimes, she couldn't be leniently punished and should be punished according to all the crimes she participated in. 

On Thursday, Zhu Dahong, the widow of Lu Zhongming, one of the victims in the case, arrived from Hefei, Anhui Province, to observe the sentencing in Nanchan, and said she felt relieved after the verdict were announced and would take her children to visit Lu's grave.

"More than eight months have passed from the last hearing to the sentencing, indicating that the court is very careful about this case, and also gave Lao the opportunity to express herself during the hearing," Liu Jingjie, Zhu's lawyer, said in an interview, adding that the case's verdict was in line with the law and most people's expectations.