Two Chinese men were charged in a New Zealand court on Wednesday
in connection with the death of 19-year-old Chinese student, Wan
Biao, five days ago.
The victim's body was found in a suitcase that had been dumped
in Auckland's Waitemata Harbor on Friday.
One of the accused has been charged with murder. He is also
charged with kidnapping. The second man has been accused of being
an accessory to the murder.
Both men are 21 years old. One is a student and the other is
said to be unemployed.
The accused made a brief appearance in the Auckland District
Court on Wednesday morning. The charges were read to them through
The court has ordered that their identities be withheld.
Police believe that the accused held Wan Biao to ransom and
demanded that the victim's parents in China pay four million yuan
(about US$500,000) for their son's release.
Detective Inspector Bernie Hollewand said that video camera
recordings and "good police work" led to their arrest.
Hollewand said that kidnapping "may have been one of the
motives," but he held that "a simple kidnapping motive is not
consistent with the preparations and the actions of the
The ransom call to the family was "a very incomplete demand",
He also said that there was no evidence of any association with
known Chinese gangs.
Both men were remanded in custody and are due to reappear in
court at the end of June.
Police said that Wan's parents in China were notified of their
son's death and were "devastated". They are reportedly making
arrangements to travel to New Zealand.
Wan arrived in New Zealand from China last August and studied
English at Oxford International Academy.
News of Wan's murder has hogged headlines in New Zealand, and
locals and Chinese have expressed their sympathies.
Oxford International Academy dean of studies Michelle Mason
agreed with a police assessment that Wan was a "quiet and studious"
Most of Wan's schoolmates are on holiday this week. But those
who were around were shocked by the news and would be helped by a
grief counselor, she said.
Chief Executive of Education New Zealand Robert Stevens said Wan
Biao's death was "sad, tragic". But he added that he believed it
was an "isolated case".
Stevens told Xinhua on Tuesday: "The number of incidents
involving international students are minimal considering their
population in New Zealand."
"And we would like the parents, including the Chinese parents,
to be sure that New Zealand is still one of the safest destinations
globally for international students."
(Xinhua News Agency April 19, 2006)