Chinese shooters claim self-defence

Two foreign shopkeepers accused of murdering a Namibian in Kavango East are applying to be released on bail.

12 September 2019 | Justice

Two Chinese nationals accused of killing 32-year-old Haushiku Muyevu at Andara village in Kavango East in April, are claiming they acted in self-defence after being attacked with a steel hammer, but the State has described this as “far-fetched”.

Xuefeng Chen (29) and Zhenhai Zhou (31), who stand accused of murder and discharging their firearms in public, testified before Magistrate Sonia Samupofu this week.

They formally applied for bail in the Mukwe periodical court.

They claim they are not a flight risk and that their lives are no longer in danger, as the public has come to terms with what happened.

Zhou, who testified on Tuesday, denied the State's version that he had travelled from Divundu to Andara with the two guns, which were used to murder Muyevu.

He said he only arrived with his gun, which he carried with him at all times, and that Chen had his own firearm, which was under the counter of his shop.

Zhou said when he arrived at Chen's shop, the victim and Chen had already been involved in a heated argument.

He told the court that while he and Chen were behind the counter, they saw the deceased pick up a steel hammer inside the shop.

He claimed that when Muyevu approached them, Chen removed his gun from under the counter to defend himself.

Zhou said while Chen and Muyevu were scuffling, he saw that Muyevu was in a position to hurt Chen with the hammer.

It was at that point that he fired the first shots, while aiming at the right arm of deceased.

“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.

Zhou then demonstrated in court how Chen, who was falling, also shot the victim.

State prosecutor Steven Haradoeb described Zhou's testimony as “far-fetched”.

Haradoeb put it to Zhou that the deceased had not posed any threat to their lives when they took out their firearms.

The two accused said they are prepared to pay N$100 000 each if granted bail.

Both are married and have been living in Namibia for more than eight years.

The duo, who own a number of businesses in Kavango East, told the court they want to be released because their businesses have suffered significant financial losses since their arrest.

Chen and Zhou were arrested on 17 April after allegedly shooting Muyevu four times.

Muyevu was an employee at Chen's shop, situated at Andara village, which about 190 kilometres east of Rundu.

Zhou indicated that he has no intention to flee, if granted bail, because his family, mother and father are all living in Divundu.

He said he had also fathered a child in Namibia.

He said the baby was born in Otjiwarongo, but could not provide proof of the birth, when pressed by Haradoeb.

He told the court his four businesses would normally rake in revenue of N$100 000 a month, compared to the N$50 000 they were now making monthly.

However, Zhou failed to provide Haradoeb with proof that his businesses were not doing well.

Zhou told the court he only calculates what he spends on his businesses and the revenue he makes, while admitting that “the books are not done nicely”.

“How do you know whether your businesses were making N$100 000 per month, when you admitted that your books are not in order?” Haradoeb asked.

When asked whether his wife cannot run his business affairs, Zhou said she had tried, but failed.

He said his suppliers only trust him and that they are accustomed to face-to-face transactions that involve borrowing money.

No banking

Zhou also admitted he does not bank his money, saying he is constantly expanding his businesses and that he needs to pay cash at all times.

Haradoeb also revealed that one of the key State witnesses had been contacted by the “Chinese business community' and was told not to testify in the case.

Zhou refuted this claim.

The court has also accepted into evidence a petition by the Muzokumwe Volunteers Organisation (MVO), which has over 700 signatures. The State and defence were expected to conclude their arguments yesterday. Florian Beukes of Metcalfe Attorneys is representing the two accused.

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