Chinese murder suspects to plead in August

The two shopkeepers who shot an employee in their shop at Andara village claimed self-defence.

30 June 2020 | Justice

KENYA KAMBOWE

RUNDU



Two Chinese shop owners, Xuefeng Chen (30) and Zhenhai Zhou (32), who allegedly killed an employee at Andara village in the Kavango East by shooting him 14 months ago, are expected to plead in August, despite the State not having the ballistics report ready.

Chen and Zhou appeared before Magistrate Sonia Sampofu on 18 June in the Mukwe periodic court and the matter was postponed to 8 August.

They remain in police custody.



Deadly altercation

Chen and Zhou were arrested on 17 April 2019 after they allegedly shot Muyevu Andreas Haushiku inside their shop at Andara village. Preliminary police reports and witness statements indicated that the three men were involved in an altercation over the victim's severance pay after he was dismissed. It is further alleged that the suspects fired about four shots at the victim, who fell to the ground and was left to die “like a dog”, as was described by the victim's father Bonifatius Hauthiku Muhapiri, during an interview last October.

However, in September 2019 during their formal bail application, the accused claimed that they acted in self-defence after being attacked with a hammer by the victim.

Far-fetched

“My intent was not to kill. I took out my gun when I saw the deceased trying to beat Chen's head with a hammer.

“At that moment, I did not want to kill; I simply wanted to disarm him by shooting at the arm which was armed (with the hammer),” Zhou testified.

The State described Zhou's self-defence claim as “far-fetched”. The duo, who own a number of businesses in Kavango East, at the time also told the court they want to be released because their businesses have suffered significant financial losses since their arrest. They were prepared to pay bail of N$100 000 each. On 7 October 2019, Magistrate Sampofu denied bail.



Outstanding report

According to the court record, the State indicated that investigations into the matter are complete, bar the ballistics report.

“What is outstanding is the ballistic tests, however, this would not stop us from moving forward with the [Criminal Procedure Act] Section 119 charges,” the record said.

In February, Namibian Sun reported on how money and staff shortages have led to the National Forensic Science Institute (NFSI) being unable to conduct scientific examinations on time, in turn causing court delays.

Earlier this month, NFSI director, Commissioner Paul Ludik, said the institute's immediate needs amount to N$198 million.

He also revealed that their yearly operational budget for DNA tests is N$3.5 million, while they require about N$20.9 million.

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