A man has found himself mute, after refusing to speak for 12 years, while evading capture by the police for murder.
Known only by the name Zeng, the man stabbed his wife's uncle to death during an argument over a 500 yuan (NZ$108) rent payment in 2005, The Telegraph reports.
He then moved cities and begged for money under the fake name Wang Gui, staying silent the entire time and pretending to be genuinely mute.
Eventually, he got a job, remarried and fathered a child, all while maintaining the deception that he was physically unable to speak.
The ruse ended when he was discovered to have no official documentation and a blood test ordered by police positively identified him.
Local police say Zeng was discovered to be officially mute after being apprehended and could only communicate during interrogation by passing notes.
When officers asked why he was mute all these years, Zeng had a fairly simple reason for the deception.
"The less I say, the less chance I'll make a mistake," he wrote.