Mastermind of armed robbery gang caught

Updated: 2012-01-17 07:57

By Wang Huazhong and Huang Feifei (China Daily)

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NANNING - A man suspected in a series of robberies was captured with a loaded AK-47 assault rifle in his possession in a southern border city on Sunday, police say.

The man - identified by police only by his surname, Huang - is suspected of masterminding two robberies during last year's Spring Festival holiday in Pingxiang, the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. He is being held by authorities.

Mastermind of armed robbery gang caught 

A man surnamed Huang (middle), suspected in a series of robberies, was captured in Pingxiang, the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on Sunday. Liu Wenjie / for China Daily 

According to police, Huang, 33, would cross the border into Vietnam after robberies. But with Spring Festival drawing near, he returned this month to commit new robberies.

On Feb 3, Chinese New Year, Huang and another man surnamed Liu, are suspected of breaking into a house in Youai village of Pingxiang and getting away with 20,000 yuan ($3,166).

On Feb 26, Liu and another man surnamed Lu, both armed, robbed villagers in Zhushan, Pingxiang, Liu Wenjie, a publicity official with the Chongzuo public security bureau, told China Daily. The Chongzuo public security bureau overseas Pingxiang police forces.

According to police, Huang has many relatives in Vietnam and speaks fluent Vietnamese. During robberies, he would threaten people in Vietnamese, so they would believe he was a foreigner.

When he was captured at 2 am on Sunday, he had an AK-47 and a Type-54 pistol along with 77 bullets in his possession, police said.

Mastermind of armed robbery gang caught 

A police officer counts the bullets and guns, including an AK-47 assault rifle, after the suspect was captured on Sunday. Liu Wenjie / for China Daily 

According to police, the other members of Huang's gang, Liu and Lu, were arrested in April in separate raids. Liu was armed with a military pistol and 54 bullets, they said.

Arms smuggling is often reported in the border city of Chongzuo. Police say they confiscated 148 guns, 37,709 bullets and 200 kilograms of explosives in the city in 2011.

Six military guns among the 148 captured came from abroad. The rest were homemade for hunting or keeping animals away from crops, said Liu, the police officer.

Several armed robberies have been reported in China in recent months.

On Jan 4 last year, three police officers were killed in a gunfight with two shooters in Taian, in East China's Shandong province.

A fugitive suspected of killing six people in China's Chongqing municipality and Hunan province in the past eight years shot dead another person after the victim withdrew 200,000 yuan in cash from a bank in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu province.