Chinese police have arrested three people who confessed to killing an American engineer at a battery manufacturing plant in southern China, an official newspaper said Tuesday.

Leonard Phillips, 42, of Athens, Tenn., was attacked and killed on March 23 in his hotel in Dongguan City, a fast-growing city 60 miles northwest of Hong Kong.Police arrested three people Sunday after conducting investigations in several cities, including the capital, Beijing, the Guangzhou Daily said. It said the suspects "confessed all the facts."

In making the arrests, police found a homemade pistol, knives, a mobile phone, six pagers, seven watches, bank cards, false IDs and more than $609, the newspaper said.

Theft appeared to be the motive in the killing, said Ian Kalinosky, general manager of the Duracell plant in Dongguan, where Philipps was working.