Professor in China detained 16 years after murder, say reports

BEIJING (AFP) - A Chinese businessman who allegedly killed a man 16 years ago and went on the run, setting up a new life as a university professor, has been held after the victim's brother found him, reports said on Thursday.

Ren Yuefeng was running a restaurant in the southern province of Yunnan when he had Mr Yang Shunxiang beaten to death in a dispute over counterfeit cigarette trading, the state-run Global Times said.

It cited the victim's younger brother Yang Shunming, who was working for Ren at the time.

Ren took on a false name, Ran Gengsheng, and moved to Guiyang in the neighbouring province of Guizhou, where he rose to become director of the provincial office of the China Planning Research Institute, reports said.

The Global Times said he was "famous among his peers", adding: "He also worked as a guest professor in several Guizhou universities where his lectures were said to be very popular".

Mr Yang Shunming moved to Guiyang himself in 2007, but did not identify Ren until earlier this month, when the two sat at the same table at a community gathering, the paper added.

Asking two friends to watch him, Mr Yang left to notify police and Ren was detained.

China has a 20-year statute of limitations on crimes which can carry the death penalty, the Global Times quoted lawyers as saying, so that Ren can still be charged.

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