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Chinese Murder Suspect Pretends to be Mute for 12 Years, Loses Voice As a Result

Here’s some free legal advice, possibly the only good legal advice you’ll ever get for free on the Internet; the only four words you ever say to the police are “I want my lawyer”. If they tell you you don’t need a lawyer, you very much need a lawyer, and if they tell you that asking for a lawyer will make things worse for you, try and find the members of OJ’s legal team who are still alive.

A Chinese man known only as Zeng took that advice to heart after he allegedly killed his wife’s uncle over 500 yuan (about $75). Zeng fled to the hills and started a new life as a mute named Wang Gui. Dude didn’t speak for 12 years, during which time he got a job in construction and remarried. That is dedication right there. I’m especially impressed he managed to get a wife without saying a single word for twelve years.

So how did he finally get busted? Basically by the census. The Chinese government has been doing really in-depth financial surveys on its citizens, basically going door to door and asking about their finances for statistical data. It’s the sort of thing Americans would probably be mortified by, but China isn’t exactly a democracy.

Anyway, in the course of this survey, it was discovered that Wang Gui had absolutely no documentation whatsoever. So the police took a blood sample, identified him as Zeng and arrested him.

Of course, Zeng hadn’t spoken in 12 years, so he was now actually mute. Yeah, turns out that happens when you don’t talk for 12 years, your vocal chords stop working, just like any unused muscle. So how do we know all this if Zeng can’t talk? Well, the Telegraph’s report says he passed notes to the police.

Instead of speaking, he communicated with his interrogators by writing notes to them. According to officers questioning him, when asked to explain why he pretended to be mute for so long he wrote: “The less I say, the less chance I’ll make a mistake.”

At press time, lawyers were lining up around the block to work with a client who actually knows how to keep his mouth shut.

[Flickr: Konrad Lembcke]

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