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January 18, 2016

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Shanghai jails Chinese-born Australian for murder

A CHINESE-BORN Australian man, who stabbed his estranged wife to death and left his mother-in-law in a vegetative state in Perth, was sentenced by a Shanghai court to life imprisonment.

Australia and China do not have an extradition treaty but the two countries agreed to cooperate in the case. China also gave assurances to Australia that it would not impose the death penalty as he was an Australian citizen.

The Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People’s Court passed the ruling late in December but only released the details of the case this weekend.

Chinese-born businessman Zhao Yan was named as a suspect by the Australian police for the murder of his wife in September 2010.

Zhao, who had fled Australia, was tracked down in native Shenyang, Liaoning Province, by Chinese police in 2011.

China decided to take over the case as both the suspect and victim were born in China. Besides, Zhao was captured in China. Shanghai police was assigned the case in 2012.

The Australians passed on all the investigation details to their counterparts in Shanghai.

According to the court, Zhao’s wife, Sun Hong, and her mother, Kang Jie, were found lying in front of their house on September 30, 2010. Sun was declared dead while her mother remains in a vegetative state.

Both of them also hailed from Shenyang.

Australian police investigations revealed the murder was committed at about 7:30pm when Sun and her mother were driving to their residence in Perth. A car blocked them and Zhao got out of the car and targeted Kang with a speargun.

He missed, and then took a hammer and hit her on the head as she collapsed on the ground. He then approached Sun in the car and stabbed her several times with a knife.

Australian police suspected Zhao and even found the speargun in his home. But he had an alibi — Zhao had reportedly left for Shenyang on September 10, 2010, and there was no record to prove he had re-entered Australia again.

But a crucial evidence by a traffic police nailed him in the end. The traffic police took a picture of Zhao, who was in a car with a driver, on their way to Sydney. The traffic police said Zhao was behaving strangely.

It emerged that Zhao had entered Australia on a passport that belonged to his friend on September 23. He had bought a new car just seven days before the murder, police said.

After committing the crime, he abandoned the car and called for a driver to take him to Sydney. He left for China on October 3 from Sydney.

Police said Zhao and Sun were locked in a bitter divorce and Zhao feared losing a big chunk of his property. They had a daughter in 2008.

Zhao’s property in Perth was auctioned off and the money was to be used for his daughter’s upbringing. His daughter, who was not named, lives with another family in Perth and she is in touch with her grandfather.


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