Zhang Yongming: The Cannibal Monster
Written By: JASR
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
After the many serial killer stories we’ve read, it wouldn’t be surprising if we start to become paranoid about the people we encounter. Zhang Yongming, however, doesn’t only make us paranoid of whom we meet – he also makes us paranoid of what we buy. More than murdering and eating his victims, he also sold human flesh in the market.
Unknown Early Life
Zhang was born in 1956. Not much is known about his childhood and early life aside from the sentence he received in 1979. During that year, he already received a death sentence for intentional murder. His sentence was reduced, and he was released in 1997.
More Than Just Murder
Zhang was found guilty of strangling 11 victims to death between 2008 and 2012 in China’s Yunnan province. He dismembered, ate, burned, and buried his victims. For the flesh that he didn’t eat, he fed to his dogs or sold as “ostrich meat” at the local market.
In December 2011, Zhang was found strangling 17-year-old Zhang Jianyuan with a belt. The villagers called the police, but Zhang said he was just fooling around with the boy.
Sometime later, after an investigation of more than 20 days, Zhang was arrested on charges of murder. The investigation reveals that he started to attack males who would walk alone near his home where he lived alone since 2008. He would then use various means such as dismemberment, burning, and burial to destroy the evidence.
The Arrest That Took So Long
Local police reportedly took so long to question Zhang. Twelve police officers were disciplined or fired for ignoring the rising number of missing person reports. They were slow to search his house or look into him when at least 20 people started to go missing since 2007. Twenty people within a two-mile radius of Zhang were reported missing, but police were only able to connect Zhang to 11 of them.
On May 9, 2012, police who were investigating the disappearance of 19-year-old Han Yao discovered his bank and telephone calling cards in Zhang’s house – prompting them to arrest him right after.
Han Yao went missing in April 2012. When his family asked around, they discovered that at least eight other people went missing in the same area in the last five years.
Li Yudong, whose son Hanxiong went missing on May 1, 2007, said “not a single person in the village doubted [Zhang] until now.”
“Zhang never spoke to anyone, not even the people who lived next to him. We used to see him every day, but we never paid any attention to him,” he said.
Other than Han Yao’s belongings, police found strips of human flesh at Zhang’s house. He also had human eyeballs preserved in alcohol bottles.
Zhang reportedly refused to apologize for the killings. Xinhua News Agency announced that he was “escorted to an execution site and executed” on January 10, 2013.
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