Jul 11, 2008
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Man confesses to killing Canadian model in Shanghai

Jul 11, 2008

Diana Gabrielle O'Brien

BEIJING, July 11, 2008 (AFP) - An 18-year-old confessed Friday to killing a Canadian model in Shanghai, saying he had followed her from the street into her apartment with the aim of robbing her, police said.

Chen Jun admitted to the killing within hours of his arrest Friday in the city of Xuancheng in the eastern province of Anhui, 300 kilometres (190 miles) from Shanghai, according to a Shanghai police statement.

Diana O'Brien, 22, was found dead on Monday in the stairwell of an apartment building where she lived with another Canadian model, newspaper reports said. A trail of blood led to the door of her sixth floor apartment, reports said.

"During interrogation, the suspect, Chen Jun, confessed that he tracked the victim on Zhaohua Road and tailed her into the apartment," the statement read.

"When the victim resisted, he killed her and stole her money and property."

Police gave no details of what weapon was used or how O'Brien was killed.

She had been in China for less than two weeks, according to the police.

Surveillance cameras in the apartment building captured images of the suspect, Toronto's Globe and Mail reported.

Police recovered a laptop after the arrest, along with other items taken from the woman's apartment, according to the statement.

O'Brien came to Shanghai from Saltspring Island in Canada's British Colombia hoping to launch an international career, the Globe and Mail reported. But her contract with a Chinese-based agency turned out to mostly involve jobs as a bar dancer, the paper said.

She had told a friend she was unhappy in China and would be returning home this month, the newspaper reported.

Police initially would not confirm the death, but broke their silence on Wednesday.

Since then it has become a politically sensitive case as it has drawn international attention weeks ahead of the Olympic Games.

Chen's arrest came after local officials in Shanghai and surrounding areas made capturing the killer a priority, the statement said.

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