The WeChat Killers

Translated from the Jinling Evening News on March 4:
first draft

On October 22, 2013, in Tongda International district of Taiyuan city, Shanxi province, a woman was murdered in her home. The police quickly arrested murderer Li Jian. Li Jian explained that a rich woman named Cao Lihua used a fake corporate WeChat account to recruit the killer, and she personally trained him, meticulously planning for years. Cao Lihua instigated it!

On February 16, 2014, Taiyuan’s office of the procuratorate charged Cao Lihua and Li Jian with premeditated murder.

Unable to Bear Humiliation, Ex-Wife Goes to War

Cao Lihau is 36 years old, from Xiaodian district of Taiyuan city, Shanxi province, lives in Beizhang district. She is vice president of a notable Shanxi real estate company, quite well-off. Her husband Zhang Yongjun’s father is the chairman of the real estate company she works at, and Zhang Yongjun is the president. After getting married, Zhang Yongjun promoted her to vice president. 14 years ago, Cao Lihua and Zhang Yongjun got divorced because of personality differences, and custody of the child was given to Cao Lihua.

After negotiations, the house was given to Cao Lihua and Zhang Yongjun planned on moving out. Seeing his father pulling luggage, the two-year-old child rushed towards his father at the door. When Zhang Yongjun saw his child’s young face, his heart was heavy. He hesitantly looked at his ex-wife and said, “What do you think about me staying at the house for a few days, waiting until our kid is ready, and then leaving. Don’t worry, I’ll sleep in the guest room.” Cao Lihua thought it over again and again and finally agreed.

Although divorced, living in the same house, slowly their life returned to the way it was before. Later, they give birth to another child. Over these hazy few years, Cao Lihua and Zhang Yongjun once again begin endlessly fighting. Around this time, Zhang Yongjun met a woman named Wang Fang. Wang Fang was 40 years old, single, from Xiaodian district. They met at a friend’s gathering. For Zhang Yongjun, it was love at first sight. In order to see Wang Fang more often, he arranged for her to work in financial affairs at his company.

Cao Lihua hated this new girl suddenly bursting into her life. Every day, colleagues whispering between themselves made Cao Lihua feel embarrassed to no end. She could not let this woman destroy her household. Cao Lihua decided to give Wang Fang a piece of her mind.

Cao Lihua was badly bruised by Wang Fang’s mockery.

But in the struggle between Cao Lihua and Wang Fang, Cao Lihua was badly bruised by Wang Fang’s mockery. Even Zhang Yongjun scolded her. Zhang Yongjun’s coldness hurt her very badly and she began to hate Wang Fang more and more.

Cao Lihua wanted to find two people to teach Wang Fang a lesson, but she didn’t expect her plan would be hindered by Zhang Yongjun. What angered Cao Lihua even more was when Zhang Yongjun bought Wang Fang an expensive Buick. Wang Fang proudly waved her car keys in front of Cao Lihua on the street. Cao Lihua angrily gnashed her teeth and silently vowed to kill Wang Fang.

In 2011, Cao Lihua began making plans to murder her herself. Cao Lihua played out a million scenarios to kill Wang Fang: poison, car accident, kidnapping, and more, but every time she tried to take action, she couldn’t go through with it. For one thing, she was scared of doing it. Plus, she feared that because of her relations with Wang Fang, once she died, the police would quickly arrest her. Cao Lihua hesitated. She started thinking about whether or not to kill her, how to kill her, and had many contradictions in her head, so she shelved the plans.

Finding the Murderer on WeChat, and Giving Him “Super Training”

Wang Lao’s provocations caused Cao Lihua constant sadness and torture, almost causing her to break down. Without much consideration, she decided to hire a hitman to quietly solve the Wang Fang problem, but where can you find a hitman?

One day, while eating in the employee cafeteria, Cao Lihua happened to overhear a young lady talking to her friend with her cell phone out:

“WeChat is really good. You can shake it to find strangers. If you don’t want to chat, you can just delete them, and they don’t know it.”

WeChat? You can find strangers to chat with, and you don’t have to expose your identity. The corner of Cao Lihua’s mouth unconsciously perked up. Cao Lihua immediately downloaded WeChat and began searching for strangers under the pretext of recruitment.

“We are recruiting a few workers, men between the ages of 25 and 40, no educational requirements, must be in good shape, must be agile, and cool-headed under any circumstances.”

“Recruiting: To fill the company’s needs, now we are recruiting a few workers, men between the ages of 25 and 40, no educational requirements, must be in good shape, must be agile, and cool-headed under any circumstances. For the right candidate, there will be good payment!” After posting this recruitment notice, her WeChat account attracted a lot of interest. A lot of people spoke with Cao Lihua and sent her their pictures.

In June 2013, after going through strict filtering of candidates, Cao Lihua became interested in a mysterious man named Li Jian. Li Jian was recently released from prison for homicide and was looking for a job, but because of his personal history, no one dared hire him. Under any consideration, Li Jian was absolutely the best man for the job. Cao Lihua related the news and lied that she was going to train him to be a bodyguard.

Every morning they would run 2 kilometers, and in the afternoon they would workout in the gym for 3 hours. When Cao Lihua was satisfied with the results of their training, she started the next phase.

What kind of gloves can prevent you from leaving fingerprints? After committing the act, making a mess of the crime scene can confuse the police.

So as to not leave any clues at the crime scene, Cao Lihua specially rented a lot of crime films and detective books in order to increase Li Jian’s skills at avoiding detection. What kind of gloves can prevent you from leaving fingerprints? After committing the act, making a mess of the crime scene can confuse the police. Sometimes Cao Lihua would read crime reports in the newspaper and immediately give them to Li Jian and ask him to pretend he was the killer. How would he do it? What aspects would he pay attention to?

While training Li Jian, Cao Lihua was never idle. If she had free time, she would read law books.

As the fast-paced training entered its second month, Li Jian became more and more curious about this mysterious job. He couldn’t bear it anymore and called Cao Lihua to ask. Cao Lihua waited half a day and finally told him: “You must help me kill someone!” Li Jian stalled, not wanting to answer. Cao Lihua didn’t say anything for a while, but then they met and she cried: “Li Jian, you don’t know. A woman is making my life terrible. If I don’t kill her, I can’t go on living.” Cao Lihua’s tears made Li Jian’s heart soft. Cao Lihua had created a good impression in his heart, and when he saw this crying beauty, Li Jian bit his tooth and responded.

Using a Knife to Murder, The Puppet Master Falls into the Web of Justice

Cao Lihua told Li Jian the places that Wang Fang frequents and her home address. Then Li Jian could kill her while he pretended he was robbing her. Li Jian pursued her for multiple days, but if she wasn’t with her colleagues then she was with Zhang Yongjun. She was rarely by herself. Cao Lihua thought waiting for her to be alone wasn’t an option, so they might as well kill her in her home. She set the time for the evening of October 21. After fixing the date, Cao Lihua began preparations.

That day, when Zhang Yongjun wasn’t paying attention, Cao Lihua stole his keychain and took the key to Wang Fang’s house off it and made a mold of it. After these preparations, Cao Lihua and Li Jian decided they were ready to strike.

On the evening of October 21, 2013, Cao Lihua thought of a way to trick Zhang Yongjun into returning home. She waited until the morning the next day, when Zhang Yongjun was deep asleep, and she slipped out of the house.

Instead of taking the elevator with a camera in it, Li Jian took the stairs. At around 5 am, he was standing in front of Wang Fang’s house and used the key they made to enter the house. Wang Fang woke up surprised and turned on the lights. Once Li Jian saw his plan unravelling, he immediately went into the room and pinned Wang Fang to the bed before she could get up and pulled out his knife. Staring at Wang Fang, he said, “If you don’t want to die, pull out all of your money!” Wang Fang, trembling, said, “I don’t have much money. Just in the bag in the living room, I have 5,000 RMB. If you want it, take it all.”

Wang Fang grabbed the knife, grabbed Li Jian’s wrist, and began kicking him.

Li Jian put the knife to Wang Fang’s back and went with her into the living room. Shaking, Wang Fang poured the money out of the bag and gave it to Li Jian. After seeing Wang Fang pour out 5,000 RMB, Li Jian asked, like he was unsatisfied: “This little money? No more?” Wang Fang, with a sullen face, said, “Really, I don’t have any more.” “Then I’m sorry,” Li Jian said, and he put the knife towards Wang Fang’s neck, but Wang Fang used her left hand to grab the knife and her right hand to grab Li Jian’s wrist and began kicking him and screaming for help. Li Jian put his hands over her mouth until she couldn’t breath and suffocated her to death. Then Li Jian tore the place apart, making a mess to make it look like it was a burglary. After the incident, Li Jian ran to Beijing to try to evade arrest.

On November 3, 2013, the Taiyuan public safety department detained Li Jian, and Cao Lihua was also arrested.

On February 16, 2014, the Taiyuan office of the procuratorate brought charges against them for premeditated murder.

The Binhai Times also wrote about this incident in February: (pdf).

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