CHINA - A fireworks factory owner has confessed to abducting and killing three children in Hunan province, police said on Sunday.
Zhang Xingyan was detained on suspicion of homicide after the bodies of a boy, 8, and two girls, both 9, were discovered in a forest.
The 33-year-old is accused of abducting the children in Yueyang county on Wednesday morning as they went to school. He then drove them in his black BYD car to a forest in nearby Linxiang and killed them, police said.
Police said Zhang knew the victims, who lived in his village.
All three children left for school at 6 am on Wednesday. At about 9 am, Zhang Nianyong told police he received a call from a teacher saying his grandson had not arrived.
His son Zhang Bin went to the school and discovered his stepdaughter and niece were also missing.
The next day, the family received a call from a man demanding 900,000 yuan ($183,420) who warned them not to contact the authorities. Believing the children had been kidnapped, the family called police for help.
Authorities said in a statement on Sunday that Zhang Xingyan was detained at a teahouse on Friday and later confessed to killing the children.
Beijing News reported Zhang runs a fireworks workshop and had large gambling debts.
However, a Yueyang police officer who gave only his surname, Pan, told China Daily: "He killed the children before he asked for the money.