A 24 year old man Guangdong man has been sentenced to life in prison after he murdered his girlfriend in 2012 and hid her corpse under his bed. He then spent the night playing games at an internet cafe, which he paid for with money stolen from his dead girlfriend’s account, before attempting suicide.
At Tech in Asia, Charlie Custer rather hysterically introduces this story like so:
If you had any doubts about how serious gaming addiction can be – and you shouldn’t, given the number of game-related murders we’ve written about recently – here’s a terrifying story that will set you straight.
Custer, who is a writer I have a great deal of respect for, should know better that correlation does not equal causation. Particularly when the story he is reporting on is a fairly straightforward case of domestic violence which happens to involve a gamer.
The perpetrator, Xie Huachang, met the victim, ‘Xiao Hui’ (a pseudonym) online in March 2011, the two hit it off and soon moved in together. By early 2012, however, Xiao Hui had become tired of Xie, allegedly because he was “obsessed” with video games. She broke up with him in May and intended to move to Shenzhen.
Unfortunately, she was still living with Xie, who wasn’t happy about the breakup or her impending departure. One morning in June, as she packed her things to leave for good, he stood in the doorway tearfully begging her not to go. When she refused, his sadness turned to anger. Xie grabbed her by the throat and threw her onto the bed, continuing to strangle her until she had stopped moving and her face had turned purple. She was dead.
Rather than turning himself in or fleeing, Xie then stole Xiao Hui’s bank card and hid her corpse under the bed. He took 300 RMB ($47) out of her account from a nearby ATM, and went to an internet cafe to play video games. He spent the night there, but at around seven the next morning he returned to the room and slipped Xiao Hui’s card back into her wallet. Then he went back to the internet cafe to play more games.
‘Emotionally distant boyfriend is abusive asshole, murders girlfriend’ might not have the same ring to it as ‘Addicted Chinese Gamer Dumped, Murders Girlfriend, Steals Her Money to Play More Games‘ but it’s far closer to the truth. After Xie failed to guilt Xiao Hui into staying with him, he resorted to violence, killing her. How many women have been murdered by abusive partners when they finally got the courage to attempt to leave?
Xie’s gaming addiction sabotaged his relationship with Xiao Hui, and the pull of games was apparently so strong Xie’s response to having committed murder was to steal his dead girlfriend’s money so he could play games for a full 24 hours before much else even occurred to him.
Is it that surprising that an emotionally disturbed person (Xie reportedly attempted suicide before handing himself in to police) would seek solace or distraction in their favourite hobby? If Xie had played golf we might regard that as something of a cold blooded reaction, but no one would suggest that he did so because he was ‘addicted’ to golf.
Xie was sentenced to life in prison this month and will have to pay a sum of restitution to Xiao Hui’s family.