China police: Suspected 'bank killer' shot dead

Police carrying away the body of Zhou Kehua in Chongqing
Image caption Zhou Kehua was shot dead by police in Chongqing

A suspected armed robber accused of killing at least nine people since 2004 has been shot dead by police in China's Chongqing, state-run media say.

Two policemen spotted the suspect in an alley and exchanged gunfire with him, officials said.

The man, identified as Zhou Kehua, was also accused of wounding several others in robberies, Xinhua news agency said.

On Monday, it was reported that a "massive manhunt" was under way for the 42-year-old in the south-western city.

On Friday state media said he killed a woman outside a bank and then a policeman who was pursuing him.

Police were searching for him in a mountainous area where he was thought to be hiding, China Daily newspaper said on Monday.

The authorities had offered a 5.4m yuan ($850,000, £542,500) reward for his capture.

Police believed that he was responsible for a string of robberies in Chongqing and Changsha, and one earlier this year in Nanjing.

The authorities described him as "ruthless and highly dangerous" and said he had become adept at dodging police.

"We have not seen this kind of cold-blooded killer in years," an unnamed police official was quoted by Xinhua as saying.

Mr Zhou was born in rural Chongqing and is believed to have worked in other cities in the last 25 years, including as a porter at a railway station.

He also served time in Yunnan province for trafficking firearms.