Restaurant bloodbath began as cook fled

12th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

12 September 2007, Stade, Germany (dpa) - The gruesome murders of seven people working at a Chinese restaurant were triggered by a cook fleeing the scene, according to the police case which was unfolded Tuesday in a German court.

12 September 2007

Stade, Germany (dpa) - The gruesome murders of seven people working at a Chinese restaurant were triggered by a cook fleeing the scene, according to the police case which was unfolded Tuesday in a German court.

Five Vietnamese immigrants to Germany are accused of one of the bloodiest armed robberies in Germany in half a century.

The indictment said the masked robbers had only made up their minds a day earlier to hold up the restaurant late on February 4 in the country town of Sittensen, near Hamburg, and had not intended to kill anyone.

However the restaurant cook tried to escape and one of the robbers shot him dead, then the restaurant owner. The other five were shot in the head in cold blood so there would be no witnesses left to those two murders.

It was possible the raiders had not noticed the cook was present when they rounded up the staff.

Five staff from Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong were killed along with popular local restaurant owner Danny Wing Hong Fan, 32, and his 28-year-old wife, both British citizens.

At the trial's second hearing, prosecutors made public for the first time how the victims were tortured, saying the robbers bashed the owner with a piece of wood and choked his wife. Most victims were bound with cable-ties.

One of the victims was reportedly still alive when police arrived but succumbed soon after to his injuries. Only the owners' baby daughter survived the attack.

None of the accused, who are aged 30 to 42, has personally admitted to the killings, but police say the trigger was pulled by the 30-year-old accused who had a pistol with a silencer.

The three alleged to have actually raided the building are charged with murder and the other two alleged plotters are accused of robbery and incitement to robbery.

The first hearing last month had been taken up with objections by the 10 defence lawyers, who maintained that key papers were served too late and the judges were biased. The court in the town of Stade overruled them.

In new challenges Tuesday, the defence demanded the replacement of the interpreters appointed by the court to help the accused, because they did not speak the defendants' own dialect.

They also alleged one interpreter was biased because he had previously worked for detectives on the case. The defence lawyers added they themselves needed more time to read the 40,638 pages of files on the case.

To bolster its case, the prosecution is to bring forensic scientific evidence gathered at the scene of the crime. A verdict is not expected until next year.

DPA

Subject: German news

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