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19 year-old student accused of murdering, dismembering businessman

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Today Chinese media nationwide have broken the story of the murder of Mu Hongzhang (木鸿章), almost three weeks after the discovery of his remains. Mu, a Lijiang resident who was a manager at the Lijiang Highway and Bridge Management Company, was initially reported missing on December 19 of last year. He was reportedly murdered and hacked into more than 260 pieces that night.

The murder has sent shock waves through Lijiang, as has the identity of Mu's alleged murderer. The accused murderer is Mu's reported lover, 19 year-old Beijing native Zhang Chao (张超), a second-year student at Yunnan University's Tourism Culture Institute in Lijiang. The story has caught the interest of China's national and local media, with news outlets throughout the country running articles on the case today.

Zhang Chao
Zhang Chao

According to interviews with some of Zhang's classmates, the new arrival from Beijing quickly adapted to her new environment in Lijiang and led a life of leisure and barhopping. Zhang's classmates claimed that the woman met the married Mu - whose age has not been disclosed - during her nights out and the two quickly established a relationship in which Zhang would spend time with Mu in exchange for cash, with some deposits by Mu into Zhang's bank account as high as 30,000 yuan.

Details regarding Zhang's possible motive for murdering Mu have yet to surface and a trial date has yet to be announced.

The case is the second brutal murder case involving a Yunnan University student in the last four years. In June of 2004, Yunnan University student Ma Jiajue was executed for bludgeoning four of his classmates to death. Ma reportedly said that he murdered the four because they accused him of cheating in a game of cards.

Image: www.clzg.cn

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