Novelist expresses relief after arrest for 1995 quadruple murder

AN acclaimed novellist has expressed relief when he was arrested for a quadruple murder committed 22 years ago.

Liu Yongbiao, 53, confessed to the 1995 multiple murders after Anhui police made a breakthrough in the case which they thought had gone cold, The Beijing News reported on Tuesday.

"I have long awaited this day," he told law enforcement upon arrest, according to the newspaper. "All these years my soul has known only torment."

New DNA analysis of saliva from a cigarette butt initially recovered at the scene led the special investigations unit to a village in Nanling County, where police went door-to-door collecting blood samples.

Liu was taken taken into custody after his DNA sample matched the evidence.

According to the facts of the case, police in the Zhejiang city of Huzhou were called to the scene of a brutal homicide at a local bed and breakfast in late November 1995.

They found four dead from blunt force head trauma. The victims were the two owners of the inn, their 13-year-old grandson and a guest from Shandong province.

Police chanced upon a cigarette butt, which was manufactured by an Anhui-based brand. Investigations came to a halt after a series of false starts and dead ends.

Although it remained dormant for years, the case was not closed. The Huzhou public security bureau decided to revisit the case earlier this year with DNA identification technology.

Shortly after Liu's arrest, police nabbed his suspected co-conspirator, a 64-year-old legal consultant named Wang Ming from Nanling County.

The Beijing News quoting sources reported that Liu and Wang, facing bleak economic prospects at home, both moved to Huzhou seeking temporary work in the mid-90s, before allegedly plotting the quadruple murder and robbing the victims.

Liu was established as a writer even at the time of the murder. His 2005 breakthrough story collection, A Film, garnered the government-awarded Anhui Literature Prize, the highest provincial critical achievement. In 2013, he was elected to the China Writers Association, cementing his credentials as part of the literary mainstream.