Chinese court jails man for NZ killing

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A Chinese man who stabbed a New Zealand taxi driver to death in Auckland was sentenced to 15 years in prison at Shanghai No 2 Intermediate People's Court on Wednesday.

Hiren Mohini,the taxi driver killed by Xiao Zhen.[File photo]

Hiren Mohini,the taxi driver killed by Xiao Zhen.[File photo] 

Xiao Zhen, 24, who was studying in New Zealand, stabbed Hiren Mohini, 39, more than 10 times in the early morning of January 31 last year as he wrestled with him after refusing to pay the fare.

He pleaded guilty to a charge of causing intentional injury at the court in Shanghai.

The case marks the first time a crime committed abroad has been tried in China. Xiao was put on trial in China because China and New Zealand do not have an extradition treaty.

Xiao, wearing a black T-shirt and in handcuffs, received the sentence calmly. He just glanced at his father before being taken from the court, Shanghai Daily reported.

The court heard that on the night of Jan 31, 2010, he hailed a taxi near Sky City, Auckland, to see friends. He chatted with Mohini but the talk turned into a heated argument on Asians working in restaurants in New Zealand. Xiao said he asked to get out of the taxi and refused to pay. The two then fought for a couple of minutes. Xiao said he reached for his knife intending to stab the driver's hand to get away from the fight, but he might have stabbed somewhere else, and he could not remember how many times he stabbed the driver.

On his return to his apartment, Xiao told his roommate that he was injured in a basketball game and asked for some painkillers. The following day he read about the case and decided to return to China.

Xiao left New Zealand on Feb 5 and was arrested on June 10, 2010.

During his four-month stay at home in Shanghai after returning to China, he did not mention a word about the case to his family.

At his Aug 2 trial, Xiao confessed to the crime. He said he regretted his actions and that he was willing to make financial compensation to the family of the deceased.

According to BBC News, officials from New Zealand were in court to hear the verdict.

"I think the verdict was fair. It's what we had hoped for. I think the sentence was according to (the) crime," said Senior Sergeant Hywel Jones.

Xiao's lawyer Jiang Zhengqun said on Wednesday that whether Xiao would appeal will depend on the defendant.

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