MANILA, Philippines—His former lover had threatened to have his parents killed, so he decided to kill her first.
Thus went the confession of the suspect in the killing of a woman who was captured by a surveillance camera being run over twice by a car and stabbed to death by its driver on Roxas Boulevard at the back of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas last month.
Speaking in broken Filipino hours after his arrest in Malate, Gong Shu Yang, 27, of Shishi City in Fujian, China, apologized for killing his former lover and compatriot, Zhao Chun Lan, 24, of Gansu Province, on January 14.
“I had to kill her. She told me she was going to have my Papa and Mama killed,” Gong told the Inquirer, looking gentle behind a pair of spectacles while gripping the bars of the holding cell at the Manila Police District homicide section.
After weeks of searching for Gong, officers led by homicide section chief Senior Inspector Joselito De Ocampo finally caught up with him at the Taft Tower on Taft Avenue in Malate with the help of a tip from an informant.
The informant had told policemen at 10:30 p.m. Thursday that Gong lived in the building. Police collared him about two hours later as he was entering the building, police said.
Gong said his parents were in China but he had a furniture business in the Philippine and had been in and out of the country for more than two years.
He claimed that Zhao, who had also been in and out of the country as a tourist, had been demanding 20,000 Chinese yuan (approximately P135,600) from him and had, several minutes before their last meeting, sent him a text message saying she had hired men to kill his parents if he did not see her and immediately hand over the cash he owed her.
The money she was demanding, he alleged, was a refund of the cash she shelled out for an abortion he ordered her to have in China because he did not know of any abortion clinics in the country.
“I wanted to break up with her but she did not want to break up with me,” he told the Inquirer.
Asked if he fully understood and was confessing to what he had done, Gong simply nodded, and said, “Sorry.”
He answered he was already broke when asked why he did not simply cough up the cash Zhao was demanding.
The MPD homicide section chief pointed out that they initially got a lead on the case from a security camera video taken of the killing. A witness at the crime scene also positively identified Gong after his arrest.
De Ocampo told the Inquirer that Gong’s face was seen clearly on the video and investigators were able to match his picture with still photographs on the victim’s mobile phone.
He had said previously that Gong had duped Zhao of some P1.3 million in cash after instructing her to have an abortion in China, which caused their breakup.
In the closed circuit television footage of the actual crime, Gong and Zhao were seen arguing in front a black Nissan Cefiro (XAY-741) when the suspect walked back to his car and sat on the driver’s seat.
Zhao appeared to be taunting the driver to run her over, her hands gesturing for the car to come at her. But Gong started to drive in reverse, prompting Zhao to walk away, apparently thinking that the driver had chickened out. However, several seconds after, the car stopped and suddenly surged forward, accelerating and running over Zhao, who had turned around too late.
While the victim lay bleeding on the ground beneath the front portion of the car, the driver was observed getting off his seat and taking something from his vehicle.
After a few seconds, Gong approached the wounded woman and started striking her chest with an object before getting back in the car, running over the victim again, and then speeding away. The object, it turned out, was a kitchen knife.
Zhao was declared dead on arrival at the Ospital ng Maynila from three stab wounds in the chest and massive head wounds she sustained from being run over by the car.
Gong remains detained at the MPD homicide section holding cell pending the filing of a murder charge at the Manila prosecutor’s office.