CHONGQING, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- Police in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality have been told to cancel their vacation plans and join an intensified manhunt for a fugitive gunman amid growing alarm and panic created by the alleged killer of nine.
Police in Chongqing and the neighboring provinces of Sichuan and Guizhou have been ordered to suspend their vacations and remain on high alert for 42-year-old alleged serial killer Zhou Kehua, an officer with the Chongqing Municipal Public Security Bureau told reporters Monday.
Crews of criminal experts from Hunan and Jiangsu, two provinces where Zhou had reportedly been found in the past and later fled, have set off for Chongqing to assist in the ongoing hunt.
There has been no further report on how many police officers have been involved in the campaign, but media reports have said soldiers in Chongqing have joined the tense but fruitless manhunt.
In the latest failed search attempt, local police over the weekend combed a mountain and a cave which were said to be Zhou's hideout, only to find a ragged green T-shirt, two cigarette cartons, some skinned wires and fresh excrement.
Zhou has become infamous for robbing people withdrawing money from banks and repeatedly dodging police manhunts.
Officials said the "Class-A" wanted suspect by China's Ministry of Public Security shot nine people dead and injured five others over the past eight years. The latest victim was a Chongqing police officer who was trying to stop and question Zhou before he was shot.
The municipality has offered 500,000 yuan (15,741 U.S. dollars) for information leading to Zhou's arrest, and his photo can now be spotted in the city's streets that are teeming with warrants out for his arrest.
As the bounty placed on Zhou has grown to 5.4 million yuan at present, public fear has also intensified.
Stories telling how the serial killer has repeatedly managed to evade police and how he attacked people then walked away from the crime scenes with great calm are flooding newspapers and websites nationwide.
In cyberspace, Zhou's name remains a buzz word. On Sina Weibo, a popular Twitter-like microblogging site, Chinese netizens have expressed their fears of being attacked by the "most cold-blooded killer in years," as police officials dubbed him, urging for his arrest as soon as possible.
"It's so horrible," wrote netizen "May430," located in Sichuan. "I hope the police can nab him this time, the sooner the better."
Blogger "Heijiao Yuliufan" also voiced her concerns. "I hope Zhou is not sneaking into Dongguan," she said, referring to the city where she lives in south China's Guangdong Province.
Some less fearful bloggers have constructed a satirical link between the killer who remains at large and the just-concluded London Olympic Games.
"If there were a live broadcast of the manhunt, I bet the audience rating would be 100 times as good as that of the Games," wrote one blogger.
Another even suggested that Zhou should have participated in one of the track and field events, "since he is so good at running."
The Chongqing municipal government, however, does not think Zhou is somebody to joke with, as the government had previously warned residents not to try to arrest Zhou single-handedly, since he is "ruthless and highly dangerous."