A man accused off setting off blasts that killed 108 people did it to get revenge in disputes with his family and others, state media said Sunday in the first official word of motive for mainland China’s deadliest known crime in decades.
Despite public disbelief that one man could cause so much damage, the Xinhua News Agency said Jin Ruchao was “totally responsible” for the March 16 blasts that wrecked employee housing at four companies in the northern city of Shijiazhuang.
Jin, 40, was arrested Friday after a nationwide manhunt.
Buildings damaged or destroyed March 16 were home to Jin’s stepmother, ex-wife and former neighbors against whom he nursed a grudge, state media said.
“Jin is the only suspect right now,” said a police official in Shijiazhuang, 280 kilometers (170 miles) southwest of Beijing. The official, reached by telephone, would give only his surname, Liu.
Liu and other officials contacted Sunday declined to say whether Jin’s relatives and other people said to be his targets were killed in the blasts.
Jin, 40, also is accused of killing a former girlfriend, Wei Zhihua, in the southwestern province of Yunnan on March 9.
Jin, who is unemployed and deaf, confessed to killing Wei and described how he then bought dynamite, smuggled it to Shijiazhuang and set up the bombings, according to Xinhua and other state media.
Dynamite and other explosives for construction and mining are widely available in China. They often are used in criminal attacks instead of guns, which are harder to obtain. China has suffered a string of fatal bombings blamed on angry laid-off workers, jilted lovers and others.
Jin’s sister told police he liked explosives, made dynamite in their home in 1988 and collected books on bombs, according to Xinhua.
Jin was arrested in Beihai, a city on China’s southern coast some 1,900 kilometers south of Shijiazhuang. Police say they were tipped off by a prison guard after Jin flagged him down on a road and asked for a ride.
Jin was carrying dynamite and Wei’s identity card, Xinhua said. Liu, the police official, said he has been returned to Shijiazhuang for questioning.
The explosions in Shijiazhuang occurred within an hour and began at about 4 a.m. on March 16.