Auckland taxi driver Hiren Mohini died at the scene after crashing into a tree.
25-year-old Shanghai student Xiao Zhen pleaded guilty in a court yesterday for the murder of a taxi driver in Auckland, New Zealand.
Xiao flew home to China several days after stabbing Hiren Mohini on January 31, 2010,
and was subsequently apprehended by Shanghai police four months later.
According to TVNZ:”Mohini was stabbed a number of times before crashing his taxi into a tree. The 39-year-old father of two died at the scene. His attacker fled but police later found a distinctive blue bag with Mohini’s blood on it. Xiao was identified from security footage as earlier carrying a similar bag.”
Shanghai Daily describes yesterday’s court proceedings at the Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court:
The Shanghai native told the court that he and the taxi driver, Hiren Mohini, had a quarrel after he got into the taxi, and he got mad when the driver began to abuse him.
Xiao said he then told the driver to stop the car though he hadn’t reached his destination, and refused to pay the fare, which caused the fight.
“I just wanted to get freed from him,” Xiao said, explaining why he pulled the knife out of his bag. And he claimed he had no idea that he stabbed the driver’s heart.
The case marks the first time a person accused of murder in New Zealand has been tried in another country and some law experts in New Zealand are outraged.
Says a law professor to TVNZ (see video here): “It denies justice to the people in New Zealand. Crime is local, and a sovereign has a duty to provide justice to the people in the jurisdiction who have been injured, and that’s not happening in this case.”
No extradition agreement currently exists between China and New Zealand. Detective Senior Sergeant Hywel Jones said the Auckland City Police handed the case over to the Chinese after formal written assurances by the Chinese government that the death penalty would not be applied.
If found guilty, Xiao Zhen may be sentenced to anything from ten years to life imprisonment and will serve his sentence in China.