|Police searching for clues at the river where Zhang's body was found. |
Insert is the knife believed to be the murder weapon.
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They were childhood buddies, sharing their worlds together for 50 years, until a dispute over money and gambling debts destroyed their friendship, leading one man to kill the other in a brutal murder—and then kill himself in a suicide.
Taiwan police this week said Zhang Bi Xiu, 62, and Ye Bu Qing, 55,—both from the Guanxi township in Hsinchu county—were lifelong best mates and partners in several businesses that included karaoke bars.
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But money trouble cast a shadow of doubt over Zhang who suspected his friend had betrayed him, causing him to attack Ye with a knife as Ye was sleeping in bed, before taking his own life with poison.
Their fallout began three months ago when Ye lost NT$1.25mil (RM130,000) to Zhang at a gambling game, but he didn't pay up. Zhang landed in debt himself when he had to owe a huge sum to a moneylender after losing NT$450,000 (RM47,000) at a casino.
Zhang then asked Ye, a gangster whose nickname was Ji Gong (aka The Rooster), to give him some of the money that Ye owed him, but Ye still didn't pay.
By now, the moneylender had ordered his grunts to threaten Zhang's family if he didn't show up with the cash. The bruisers only left after Zhang's wife promised that her husband would settle a NT$10,000 (RM1,000) payment right away.
When Zhang learned of the warning from his wife, he became furious and accused Ye of giving out his home address to the moneylender. He then set out for revenge—breaking into Ye's house through a window, heading to the bedroom where Ye was sleeping, and slashing him more than 15 times.
Ye's housemate rushed to his aid when he heard Ye crying for help, but he was too late. However, he told police that he saw Zhang swallow "a powdery substance" just before fleeing the scene of the crime on a motorcycle.
The substance was later discovered to be pesticide, as Zhang's dead body was found that night at a river, about 1km away from Ye's house.
"They were very, very close and had not gotten into any serious arguments. It's sad that they ended up in such a tragedy," their neighbours and friends said.