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November 1, 2011

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Bus killing accused: 'TV hurt my ears'

A BUS passenger accused of fatally stabbing the driver in a dispute over the volume of the onboard television went on trial yesterday.

Appearing at the Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People's Court, Lin Zhong, 41, was charged with the murder of 50-year-old Xu Yuanlin.

The driver died after being in hospital for a month, leading to the original charge of intentional injury being changed to the more serious offence.

Prosecutors said the pair had argued on a No. 909 bus at around 10am on July 6, after Lin complained the TV was too loud.

Xu said he could not turn the volume down and refused to switch off the set, the court heard.

"The voices hurt my ears and caused a headache," Lin told the court.

Lin said he wanted to get off the bus and demanded his 2 yuan (30 US cents) fare back.

He could not get to cash in the bus fare box so he decided to wait until someone came onboard paying cash.

However, no passengers embarked paying in cash.

When the bus reached its terminus on Qinzhou Road S. in Xuhui District, Lin again asked for his money back and was refused again, the court heard.

Seeing Xu was about to get off the bus, Lin pulled out a flick-knife and stabbed the driver in the neck, prosecutors said.

His clothes soaked in blood, Xu managed to reach the bus dispatch room, pursued by Lin, prosecutors said.

Lin denied chasing the driver, claiming he was on his way to his sister's home and had gone to wash his hands near the dispatch room.

Police apprehended Lin five minutes later on Guilin Road and found he was carrying a knife.

The court heard that Lin had a history of mental problems.

His lawyer said he had been taking medication for a long time and was in a bad state when the incident occurred.

During the hearing, the Xu's family asked for 636,760 yuan in compensation, but Lin's lawyer said his client's finances were poor.

A verdict was not announced, but mediation over compensation will take place soon, the court said.

There have been several attacks on city bus drivers this year.

Last month, a man suffering from depression who severely beat up a female bus driver in May was jailed for three and a half years.


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