Yang Xinhai

Yang Xinhai

Yang Xinhai

Yang Xinhai in police custody
Background information
Also known as: Wang Ganggang, Yang Zhiya, Yang Liu
Born: July 1968
Zhumadian, Zhengyang County, Henan, China
Died: February 14, 2004 (aged 35)
Cause of death: Execution
Number of victims: 67
Span of killings: 1999–2003
Country: China
State(s): Anhui, Hebei, Henan, Shandong
Date apprehended: November 3, 2003

Yang Xinhai (simplified Chinese: ???) (July 1968 – February 14, 2004), also known as Wang Ganggang, Yang Zhiya, and Yang Liu,[1][2][3] was a Chinese serial killer who confessed to committing 65 murders and 23 rapes between 1999 and 2003, and was sentenced to death and executed for 67. He was dubbed the “Monster Killer” by the media.


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Yang was born in July 1968 in Zhumadian, Zhengyang County, Henan Province, China. His family was one of the poorest in their village. The youngest of four children, Yang was clever but introverted. He dropped out of school in 1985, at age 17, and refused to return home, instead traveling around China and working as a hired laborer.[1][4][5][6][7]


Photos of teenage boys killed by Yang Xinhai

In 1988 and 1991, Yang was sentenced to labor camps for theft in Xi’an, Shaanxi and Shijiazhuang, Hebei.[4]

In 1996, he was sentenced to five years in prison for attempted rape in Zhumadian, Henan and released in 1999.[4][8]

Yang’s killings took place between 1999 and 2003 in the provinces of Anhui, Hebei, Henan and Shandong. At night, he would enter his victims’ homes, and kill all of the occupants—mainly farmers—with axes, hammers and shovels, sometimes killing entire families. Each time he wore new clothes and large shoes.[8][9][10][11]

In October 2002, Yang killed a father and a six-year-old girl with a shovel and raped a pregnant woman, who survived the attack with serious head injuries.[3]

Arrest, trial and execution

Yang was detained on November 3, 2003 after acting suspiciously during a routine police inspection of entertainment venues in Cangzhou, Hebei. Police took him in for questioning and discovered that he was wanted for murder in four provinces. As news of his arrest and crimes spread, the media dubbed him the “Monster Killer”.[1][2][3][9][12][13]

Shortly after he was arrested, Yang confessed to 65 murders, 23 rapes and five attacks causing serious injury: 49 murders, 17 rapes and five attacks in Henan; eight murders and three rapes in Hebei; six murders and two rapes in Anhui; and two murders and one rape in Shandong. Police also matched his DNA with that found at several crime scenes.[3][14]

On February 1, 2004, Yang was found guilty of 67 murders
and 23 rapes, and sentenced to death in Luohe City Intermediate People’s Court, Henan. At the time of his sentencing, official Chinese media believed he had carried out China’s longest and grisliest killing spree.[4][8][14][15]

Yang was executed on February 14, 2004, by a gunshot to the back of the head.[16]


According to some media reports at the time of his arrest, Yang’s motive for the killings was revenge against society as a result of a break up.[2][9] Allegedly his girlfriend had left him because of his previous sentences for theft and rape.[2][9] Later media reports claimed that his enjoyment of robbery, rape and murder was the motive.[3][14]

While Yang never formally provided a motive, he was quoted as saying:

“When I killed people I had a desire (to kill more). This inspired me to kill more. I don’t care whether they deserve to live or not. It is none of my concern…I have no desire to be part of society. Society is not my concern.”[14][17]

See also

  • Most prolific murderers by number of victims
  • List of serial killers by number of victims
  • List of serial killers by country


  1. ^ a b c Man arrested over serial murders of 65 people“. China Daily. 2003-11-18. Archived from the original on 2008-09-20. http://www.webcitation.org/5azZxpoDW. Retrieved 2008-09-13. 
  2. ^ a b c d Man arrested on suspicion of killing 65 people in China“. ABC News. 2003-11-15. Archived from the original on 2008-09-20. http://www.webcitation.org/5azaeOljL. Retrieved 2008-09-13. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Cui, Vivian (2003-11-22). “Using hammer, shovel or axe, serial killer of 65 struck victims as they slept Yang Xinhai’s motives were rape and robbery, police say of four-province rampage.“. South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on 2008-09-20. http://www.webcitation.org/5azd9C2Fv. Retrieved 2008-09-13. 
  4. ^ a b c d Liu, Li (2004-02-02). “Man faces death after killing 67“. China Daily. Archived from the original on 2008-09-20. http://www.webcitation.org/5azdvj7cb. Retrieved 2008-09-15. 
  5. ^ Drifter says he killed 65 people with axes, shovels“. Taipei Times: pp. 5. 2003-11-22. Archived from the original on 2008-09-20. http://www.webcitation.org/5azeeZEwD. Retrieved 2008-09-15. 
  6. ^ China executes murderer of 67“. Rediff India Abroad. 2004-02-14. Archived from the original on 2008-09-20. http://www.webcitation.org/5azf2a7cJ. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  7. ^ Chinese ‘serial killer’ confesses“. BBC News. 2003-11-21. Archived from the original on 2008-09-21. http://www.webcitation.org/5azfRjKZg. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  8. ^ a b c Chinese serial killer gets death sentence for slaying 67“. Asian Political News. 2004-02-09. Archived from the original on 2008-09-21. http://www.webcitation.org/5azflHCF8. Retrieved 2008-09-15. 
  9. ^ a b c d Chinese ‘serial killer’ arrested“. BBC News. 2003-11-15. Archived from the original on 2008-09-21. http://www.webcitation.org/5azg1o6oY. Retrieved 2008-09-13. 
  10. ^ Police arrest man for murder of 25 students in China“. Taipei Times. 2003-11-17. Archived from the original on 2008-09-21. http://www.webcitation.org/5azgTUQ8O. Retrieved 2008-09-13. 
  11. ^ Man who killed 67 people executed“. China Daily. 2004-02-14. Archived from the original on 2008-09-21. http://www.webcitation.org/5azgsS5pz. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  12. ^ Taylor, John (2003-11-17). “Suspected serial killer in China arrested“. ABC. Archived from the original on 2008-09-21. http://www.webcitation.org/5azhB1zPT. Retrieved 2008-09-13. 
  13. ^ Forney, Matthew (2003-11-17). “Making a Killing in China“. TIME. Archived from the original on 2008-09-21. http://www.webcitation.org/5azhSXlCz. Retrieved 2008-09-15. 
  14. ^ a b c d China executes mass murderer“. BBC News. 2004-02-14. Archived from the original on 2008-09-21. http://www.webcitation.org/5azhgb9pv. Retrieved 2008-09-13. 
  15. ^ Ex-convict sentenced to death for murder of 67“. Sydney Morning Herald. 2004-02-02. Archived from the original on 2008-09-21. http://www.webcitation.org/5azi1AEk2. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  16. ^ Serial killer executed“. Taipei Times. 2004-02-15. Archived from the original on 2008-09-21. http://www.webcitation.org/5aziLq5f3. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  17. ^ Killer of 67 executed“. Sunday Mirror. 2004-02-15. Archived from the original on 2008-09-21. http://www.webcitation.org/5azz28vwW. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
NAME Yang, Xinhai
ALTERNATIVE NAMES Wang, Ganggang; Yang, Zhiya; Yang, Liu
PLACE OF BIRTH Zhumadian, Zhengyang County, Henan, China
DATE OF DEATH February 14, 2004

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