Chinese Murder Suspect Ou Jinzhong Reported Dead After a Week on the Run

By Victor Westerkamp | October 21, 2021
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On October 12, Pinghai County People's Government released photos of Ou and set a bounty for information leading to Ou's capture—dead, or alive. (Image: Pinghai County People's Government)

An alleged murderer in China who had been at loss for a week garnered some public sympathy on the fly but lost his life resisting his arrest, police reported.

Ou Jinzhong had been on the run for authorities after he allegedly killed two members of a neighboring family, a 70-year-old man, and his daughter-in-law. Another three members of the same family, the man’s wife, 30-year-old grandson, and 10-year-old great-grandson were wounded.

The fight was apparently about the shack 55-year-old Ou lived in on the premises of the well-to-do family, though it’s hard to piece together what exactly happened because authorities have been particularly secretive about the case which gave rise for a lot of speculation — and sympathy from the public for the runaway for the police.

“Uncle, run away. Hope you can still find happiness for the remainder of your life,” said one commenter on China’s main social media, Weibo, according to CNN.

Only some scattered pieces of information were to be found on social media about the elusive Ou, his background, and his motives that purportedly led him to this dramatic act on that fateful day of Oct. 10.

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From the image that transpires from the crumbs of information that we have, it is clear that we’re not dealing with a person who reminds us of a typical cold-hearted serial killer. On the contrary, Ou seemed to be remembered by some as a kind-hearted man, or even a hero.

Ou seemed to have freed two dolphins who had been stranded on the coast in 2008 and even saved a young boy from drowning some 20 years ago.

“It really pains me to see this happen,” the drowned boy, who grew up to be a man said in a video he posted on social media, referring to the alleged murders.

“In my impression, he was a kindhearted and honest man,” the rescued man remembered. “I hope he can come back and turn himself in. It’s not easy to survive in the mountains. You can’t be in hiding forever.”

Desperation

It is more likely that Ou, who lived in utmost poverty with his 89-year-old mother in a dilapidated shack on his landowner’s property in Putian city, was driven by tremendous agony and despair over the continuous legal disputes he had with authorities and his neighbors.

【#莆田在逃嫌犯30… – @凤凰周刊的微博 – 微博 (weibo.com)

“Shouldn’t the government protect ordinary people? “Why are the rich and powerful so arrogant?” Ou said on his Weibo account. “It’s always been the case that honest people play by the rules, but the law will never stand with honest people,” he wrote in another post.” I hope someone can tell me where else I can appeal. I’ve visited both the provincial and municipal bureaus of letters and calls and received no response at all. Please, everybody, I beg you to show me a path forward.”

A comment on Weibo reads: “A normal society shouldn’t push a law-abiding citizen to a point of despair, or even drive them to commit crimes. If they exhausted all legal means and still can’t defend their legitimate rights, their private remedy will inevitably arouse widespread sympathy,” 

And when, on Oct. 12, police issued a search warrant for Ou and promised a higher bounty for his dead body than for handing him in alive (20,000 yuan ($3,106) for any security footage or information leading to his arrest or 50,000 yuan ($7,765) for proof of his dead body) public outrage rose to an even higher degree.

An anonymous Weibo user wrote:  “The cash reward for discovering a body is higher than that for a living man — is this really a government notice?” Another one replied: “It’s because a dead person can no longer speak.” 

On Monday, Oct. 19, however, police announced that Ou had “killed himself resisting his arrest” but failed to provide any details as to what had exactly transpired. This, in turn, led to an outpouring of disbelief, disappointment, and sarcasm on social media.