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Report: China Pair Reportedly Killed 12

November 12, 2003

BEIJING (AP) _ A couple have been arrested and accused of robbing and killing 12 women in southern China over a five-month period, preying on job seekers in the boomtown of Shenzhen, state media and local officials said Wednesday.

Ma Yong, a 43-year-old man, and Duan Zhiqun, a 20-year-old woman, are suspected of luring the women by posing as employment brokers, the Xinhua News Agency reported late Tuesday.

A Shenzhen police official who gave his name only as Mr. Xie confirmed the details to The Associated Press but had no further information.

Ma was arrested Oct. 12 and Duan was arrested Oct. 23, the report said. Identification cards, clothes and traces of blood from the murdered women were found in the suspects’ home, and the 12 victims’ bodies were found around the Buji Township section of Shenzhen, Xinhua said.

The couple are accused of killing the women and taking their belongings, the report said, noting that the victims had mobile phones and ``looked physically weak.″

``They were motivated by money,″ a Buji Township government worker who gave his name only as Mr. Xu told The Associated Press.

Six police stations in the area had received reports of women who disappeared while looking for work between May and September. A Buji police official who wouldn’t give his name said most of the 12 women were from mainland China and were seeking jobs in Shenzhen.

Shenzhen, which is in Guangdong province just opposite Hong Kong, is a special economic zone with preferential policies to attract foreign investment and promote China’s efforts to become more market-focused.

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