A notorious female serial killer who has been on the run for 20 years after killing seven people with her former boyfriend was sentenced to death in southeast China on Thursday.
Lao Rongzhi, aged 47, received the death penalty for her involvement in four cases of robbery, kidnap and murder, including killing a three-year-old girl, more than two decades ago, after being tried at a court in Nanchang, Jiangxi province southeast China, late last year.
The woman, who was caught in 2019, said she would appeal immediately after the Nanchang Intermediate People’s Court pronounced the sentence. During the two-day trial in December, she claimed her involvement in the crimes stopped at kidnapping and robbery and blamed her ex-lover, who had been executed in 1999, for the murders.
“I believe the law will not treat a good person unjustly, neither will it let off a bad person,” a tearful Lao told the court on Thursday, according to a recording published by a higher court, the Jiangxi Higher People‘s Court.
The woman conspired with her ex-boyfriend, Fa Ziying, to kidnap, rob and murder seven people in four different cities including Nanchang, Wenzhou, Changzhou and Hefei, all in southeast China, between 1996 and 1999, the court said.
Lao was mainly responsible for looking for targets, while Fa committed the violence. Lao was directly involved in the killing of five of the victims, and held responsible for the death of two others, according to the court.
In one case in 1996, they murdered a couple and their three-year-old child before robbing their home.
Fa was apprehended in 1999 when collecting a ransom at the home of the last victim and executed later that year.
Lao escaped arrest with aid from Fa who helped cover her tracks by giving misleading information to the police after his arrest.
She then lived under false names and worked odd jobs in nightclubs for the following 20 years, until she was arrested in November 2019 at a shopping centre in Xiamen in the southeastern province of Fujian, where she was selling watches.
During December’s hearing, Lao denied that her involvement in the crimes was intentional. Instead, she had been abused and forced by Fa to take part in the crimes, she claimed.
Her relatives believed she was coerced and did not accept the verdict either, The Beijing News reported.
“We will make an appeal, as she has requested,” her elder brother Lao Shengqiao was quoted as saying.
This article was first published in South China Morning Post.