Many have heard the tale of Sweeney Todd, the ‘Demon Barber of Fleet Street.’
According to lore, Todd’s rigged mechanical barber’s chair enabled him to kill his customers and turn their flesh into meat pie fillings.
The Victorian story, adapted for Broadway and films, including Tim Burton’s 2007 musical-drama starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, is purely fictional, in case you were wondering!
However, an equally gruesome account that may be true has come out of China; it revolves around Huang Zhiheng (circa the 1930s to 1986). The gambling addict was born in the Chinese mainland before moving to Hong Kong and then Macau in the 1970s and ’80s.
After making a high-stakes bet with a fellow gambler and restaurateur called Zheng Lin, Huang allegedly won at least 180,000 Macanese patacas or MOP(around 20,000 USD then) — a sum his friend could not pay up. This turned out to be a costly mistake for Zheng and nine other members of his family...
On August 4, 1985, Huang burst into the Eight Immortals Restaurant, where Zheng and his family were closing up. By holding Zheng’s son hostage, he was able to coerce everyone else to tie each other up. He murdered every last one of them.
Huang was discovered and arrested on September 28, 1986, but in the months prior, he operated Zhang’s restaurant as if it were his own, continuing to serve barbecue pork buns. Some say that not all the family members’ body parts were found... Enough said.
The high-profile murders were the subject of The Untold Story (1993), Herman Yau’s Hong Kong crime-thriller starring Anthony Wong as the killer and Danny Lee as an intrepid inspector.