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Police arrest heist suspect after 21 years

By ZHENG CAIXIONG | China Daily | Updated: 2017-01-07 07:19

After more than two decades on the run, the last suspect in the nation's largest armored car robbery has been detained by police.

Police in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, successfully detained the suspect, Chen Xumin, in a market in Ruili, Yunnan province, in cooperation with local police on Thursday afternoon, according to the Guangzhou bureau of public security.

Chen was escorted back to Guangzhou by police by train from Yunnan province on Friday, police said.

Chen had changed his name and had cosmetic surgery, police said.

He also married a local woman surnamed Yang, according to the police.

Another suspect on the run had surrendered himself to police in Yunnan province on Dec 25 due to heavy pressure from police, the security bureau said.

Both suspects admitted to having participated in the heist after they were detained, police said.

On Dec 22, 1995, five men robbed an armored car at gunpoint in front of a bank office in Guangzhou. One officer was killed and another injured on the spot when the gang fired nine shots before taking the armored vehicle that carried currencies worth 15 million yuan ($2.18 million).

It was then the largest heist on the mainland and was even turned into a TV series.

A couple of weeks after the robbery, police detained He Yongxin, He Weiguang, He Donghai and Yuan Changrong, the four suspected gang heads, and 10 other gang members.

Seven pistols, 282 bullets, more than 20 self-made hand grenades, plus most of the stolen money were seized.

Guangdong province sent 3,500 police officers to hunt for the suspects, while Guangzhou city set up a special task force of more than 400 officers to focus on the case. Nine police groups were also sent to the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region and Fujian, Yunnan, Shaanxi and Jiangxi provinces.

"Police have never given up their efforts to pursue and capture the suspects in the case over the previous 21 years, although many officers in charge of the case have changed," a police officer from the Guangzhou city bureau of public security said on Friday.

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