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Cabby is killed in 400-yuan robbery

TWO Shanghai men have been taken into custody for allegedly killing a taxi driver and setting his body on fire after a robbery in mid-February, Nanhui District police said yesterday.

The dead man, Xia Jianqiang, a 29-year-old who worked for Yiliu Taxi Co in the district, left behind a disabled widow, and Netizens are contributing to her support as local government officials try to arrange long-term relief.

Police said Xia was killed around midnight on February 12 by the two men, known as Tang and Chen, after being robbed of about 400 yuan (US$58.4).

The driver's charred body was found when a neighborhood security guard reported a burning cab. After putting out the blaze, firefighters discovered Xia's remains in the trunk.

Less than two days later, police caught Tang, 37, in his apartment in Fengxian District, and Chen, 26, in his Nanhui District residence. Investigators said they confessed to robbing Xia to pay off gambling debts and buy drugs.

After taking his money, they bound him and drove to a forest area, according to investigators. They beat him to death with a blunt object and then drove to Hongtou Town in Nanhui, where they set the vehicle on fire, according to police. Nanhui police said they are gathering evidence for criminal charges.

Meanwhile, Xia's family lost its only source of income. Thousands of Netizens raised more than 12,000 yuan in two weeks to help the widow and her three-year-old daughter. Officials in Huinan Town, where the family lives, are applying for welfare benefits.


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