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Murdered Chinese students linked to online betting scam

Forum threats over football bets

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The two Chinese Newcastle University graduates murdered last weekend could be linked to a complex web betting scam, Northumbrian Police believe.

The couple, Xi Zhou and Zhen Xing Yang, were found dead by police on Saturday. Police said the two were tortured for some time before being killed. Bizarrely, the couple's cat was found dead in a bucket in the bathroom. Detective Superintendent Steve Wade said it was one of the worst crime scenes he'd ever seen.

Wade said: "A possible motive for the killing is beginning to emerge... Community intelligence supported by the examination of computer equipment and mobile call data has shown that both of the victims have been involved in fraudulent activity which has angered and upset a number of people. We are currently investigating this as a possible motive for the killings."

Local papers found Chinese language forum postings from Mr Yang asking for assistants to go to football matches and report back via mobile phones.

There is a slight delay before games are broadcast in China, allowing fast acting-gamblers to beat the bookmakers. Forum postings reveal several people who felt Yang owed them money. He was also offering fake degree certificates to Chinese students. ®

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