The Press

Friends hog-tie murder suspect

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Haunted by nightmares and exhausted after five months on the run, murder suspect Nai Yin Xue told his captors ‘‘you have betrayed me’’ as he was hog-tied and handed to American police.

A group of six Chinese Americans in Georgia had befriended the man sought internatio­nally by police after the murder of his wife in Auckland.

However, they became suspicious only last week after seeing his photo in a Chinese newspaper.

One, who had shared a room with Xue, said he knew the man was haunted as he would talk and cry in the night.

‘‘I said to him: ‘What is in your heart?’ ’’ Guisen Wu said.

Xue is wanted in connection with the death of his wife, Anan Liu, whose body was found in the boot of a car outside their Mount Roskill home last September.

He abandoned three-yearold daughter Qian Xun Xue, nicknamed Pumpkin after her Pumpkin Patch clothing, at a Melbourne railway station on September 15 and fled to the United States.

The group who befriended Xue, 54, lured him to a meeting in the suburb of Chamblee, north of Atlanta, where they pounced on him, binding him with his belt and his trousers.

They then sat on him until police arrived.

Police have praised their bravery and will nominate them for an award.

Xue was reputedly a martial arts expert.

‘‘Not today he wasn’t,’’ according to Chamblee assistant police chief Mark Bender, who said the captors had the upper hand when police arrived.

The only woman in the group, Ding Qing Chen, said it was her duty to turn Xue in.

‘‘I am not a hero. As a Chinese living overseas I feel I have the responsibi­lity to help catch him.’’

Speaking through interprete­rs, the group said that they visited police on Wednesday to say they had found Xue, but could not make themselves understood.

The group knew Xue as Mr Tang, a masseur who was looking to set up business in town.

‘‘We thought he friendly,’’ Guisen Wu said.

It was not until last Saturday when they saw Xue in the Chinese newspaper World Journal — striking the same pose he had shown them when demonstrat­ing he was a kung fu master — that they realised he was the wanted man.

‘‘He was really familiar, but he looked slightly different because his hair had been cut,’’ Chen said.

The group then hatched a plan to catch Xue, which included luring him to a noodle shop yesterday.

‘‘We invited Xue for dumpling, but then we found it’s not a good place to stop him.’’

They took him back to an apartment where he was jumped on from behind.

‘‘He struggled for three to five minutes,’’ Wei Chen said.

‘‘He tried to fight back by striking out with his elbow.’’

Xue branded his captors ‘‘traitors’’ in the tussle. One of the group left to call police.

Chamblee police chief Marc Johnson said that when officers arrived Xue was having difficulty breathing, but was unhurt.

‘‘It’s not a pretty picture for the martial arts expert. He ended up with his pants around his ankles and tied up.’’

The group showed police the newspaper article and officers found his New Zealand licence, ‘‘which kind of gave it away’’, he said.

Xue had ($NZ8040) on him.

In New Zealand, Operation Patch’s Detective Senior Sergeant Simon Scott said it could take up to 45 days to bring Xue back to New Zealand if he chose to appeal his extraditio­n.

Scott conceded it had been a

was

$US6500 tough time tracking the man.

‘‘It wasn’t good for the first few months. The real break came with the second airing of the America’s Most Wanted item (on television) on December 29.’’

In Chamblee, Bender said that when police checked Xue’s name on the computer ‘‘all the bells and whistles’’ went off.

Bender said the arrest was the biggest thing for a long time in Chamblee, which has a population of 10,000 and 33 police officers.

‘‘Our guys are pumped up about it. It is one of those things that happen once in a lifetime.’’

One report said Xue was dirty and smelly but Bender said he did not look hungry. ‘‘ He looked like he had been eating pretty good.’’

Xue was transferre­d from the Chamblee city jail to the De Kalb County Jail.

Scott said the child’s grand- mother in China, Liu Xiao Ping, the legal guardian of Pumpkin, had been informed of the arrest. ‘‘She was very pleased.’’

Xue’s firstborn daughter, Grace Xue, refused to comment.

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