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Man tracks brother’s killer in 16-year quest

By Duan Wuning (Global Times)

08:42, May 23, 2013

A suspect wanted for a homicide 16 years ago was transferred to police custody in Yunnan Province Monday after the victim's younger brother identified him and alerted police to his presence in Guizhou Province, local media reported.

Police in the Nanming district of Guiyang, the capital city of Guizhou Province, were alerted by a man named Yang Shunming on May 15 that the suspect, who allegedly killed Yang's elder brother Yang Shunxiang, was attending a community gathering at a clubhouse in the district, according to the Guizhou Metropolis Daily.

Police soon seized the man, who identified himself as "Ran Gengsheng."

"Ran" was the director of China Scheming Research Institute's Guizhou branch, and was famous among his peers. He also worked as a guest professor in several Guizhou universities where his lectures were said to be very popular, according to the newspaper.

After interrogation, "Ran" confessed to police that his real name is Ren Yuefeng. He had been on the run after allegedly kidnapping and killing an employee's brother in Yunnan 16 years ago.

Yang Shunming, who alerted the police, was employed by Ren 16 years ago. Yang's elder brother found that Ren's restaurant was a transfer location for counterfeit cigarettes, Yang told local media. His brother asked him to quit the job, afraid that he would get sucked into the illegal activity.

Yang resigned after five months' work, but Ren did not allow him to quit, saying he had to either wait till he found someone to replace him, or pay 30,000 yuan ($4,892) in compensation.

Yang was taken from the restaurant by his brother and Ren asked for compensation. Yang's brother offered Ren two cartons of cigarettes. However, Ren called for two accomplices, and they allegedly took the elder brother to a remote hill and beat him to death.

Assuming Ren had escaped the town after the crime, Yang left his hometown and has been hunting down the suspect ever since. Yang went to Guiyang in 2007, but did not find Ren until May 15 this year. He sat at the same table with Ren at the gathering. Afraid the suspect might flee if he recognized him, Yang asked two friends to keep an eye on him, while tipping off the police himself.

Prosecutors can charge Ren with intentional homicide or willful and malicious injury depending on his intentions, and his knowledge of the potential outcome of his behavior, said Wu Ji, a Shanghai criminal defense lawyer.

"The statute of limitation for cases in which the highest punishment could be the death penalty is 20 years in China. In this case, it's still within the statute of limitations," Wu said.

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