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February 22, 2010

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Local court hears fatal shooting an accident

A MAN charged with murder yesterday told a court that the gun went off accidentally as his trial opened yesterday in the city.

Prosecutors told the Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court that Zhao Qiqi murdered Li "Dinosaur" Haibing over a dispute about a gambling den in in the city.

Zhao, a Shandong Province native, denied the charge. He said he just wanted to threaten Li.

"I didn't intend to kill anyone," Zhao told the court yesterday. "I didn't know them. I just wanted to scare them with the gun."

Zhao said he wanted to shoot the ceiling to threaten the victims but a bullet failed to discharge. He then opened the magazine and a rusty bullet fell out.

When he closed the magazine, the rifle discharged accidentally, hitting Li.

However, Wang Heng, a friend of Li who was allegedly shot in the face afterwards by a suspect who is still at large, told the court yesterday that Zhao deliberately fired at the "Dinosaur."

Zhao said it started when he received a call from Cui Gaofeng, who is at large, early last March. Cui told him his managing rights to a gambling house in Shanghai had been taken over by Li. Cui asked Zhao for help.

Zhao, 26, agreed. On March 3, 2009, he arrived in Shanghai with his friends Zhang Wei, who is at large, and Wang Ming, who was charged with playing a minor role in the case. They brought two hunting rifles and six bullets, the court heard.

Zhao told the court that he bought the rifles on the black market for 5,000 yuan (US$732).

On March 6, 2009, Cui led the three to a villa in Minhang that houses a gambling den.

All the gamblers ran, except Li and his friend Wang Heng, when they saw the rifles.

Zhao shot Li in the abdomen. Wang Heng was then shot in the face, prosecutors said.

Li died in hospital. Wang Heng was disfigured.


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