Chinese man slaughtered 19 after family argument: police

Police stand outside a court in Kunming, the capital of southwest China's Yunnan province where a man was arrested over the killing of 19 villagers (AFP Photo/) (AFP/File)

Beijing (AFP) - A man has confessed to killing 19 people in a village in southwestern China after an argument with his parents over money, official media said Friday.

The suspect, named Yang Qingpei, confessed to murdering his parents after returning to his hometown village of Yema in China's mountainous Yunnan Province and asking them for money, Xinhua news agency cited local police as saying.

He then proceeded to kill 17 neighbours, including children, to prevent them discovering and reporting the murders, it said.

Yang, who was born in 1989, was arrested in the provincial capital of Kunming, some 200 km (124 miles) away, after 33 hours of "arduous investigation", a statement on the official social media account of the Yunnan police showed.

Earlier reports showed the villagers were found dead at their homes on Thursday morning.

A list with the victims' names circulating online showed they included 11 males and eight females, with the youngest a three-year-old girl and the oldest 72.

Four names were minors under 18, the list showed.

Yunnan officers have verified the list and the news release, Beijing News reported, adding that the police have said there was no link to terrorism.

The Ministry of Public Security sent a working group to oversee the case and manage local authorities in the investigation, reports said.

Video footage circulating online reportedly from the village showed swarms of police and heavily armed officers in fatigues walking the streets and a young man in jeans handcuffed on the ground.