Sat, Feb 11, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Australian man killed in China, local man held


A brawl in China's eastern city of Fuzhou in which an aspiring Australian musician was killed appeared to have resulted from an argument between his friend and a Chinese woman, a Chinese official said yesterday.

The alleged killer appeared to be Taiwanese, police said.

Richard Gribble, 23, died of a stab wound after he and two friends were attacked by at least five people late on Feb. 4, according to Australian media reports and an official from the Fuzhou Municipal Foreign Affairs Office.

Early reports saying the attack was racially motivated appeared to be untrue, said the official, who, as is typical with Chinese bureaucrats, identified himself only by his surname, Chen.

Police spokesmen in Fuzhou refused to comment, saying they could not release information about an ongoing investigation.

That evening, Gribble and his rock band had played a show at a bar in a district of the coastal city frequented by foreigners. Gribble and his two bandmates later joined an American friend, who was drinking and playing dice with a Chinese woman and her Taiwanese boyfriend, Chen said.

At some point, one of Gribble's friends, identified as Nick, made comments perceived as insulting by the woman, identified only as "Ms. Shi," after losing to her at dice, Chen said.

Angered, Shi called on others to help and as Gribble and his two friends were leaving, the group blocked their path and attacked Nick, Chen said.

Gribble apparently attempted to intervene and was stabbed by the woman's boyfriend, identified only by his surname, Liu, the official said.

He died shortly afterward in a hospital, Chen said.

Chen said his office was informed of the case on Sunday. Four people have been taken into custody over the attack, which remains under investigation, he said. Gribble's parents arrived in Fuzhou on Wednesday to claim the body, Chen said.

Australian media said Gribble was a resident of Talbot in the southern state of Victoria, and arrived in Fuzhou in mid-2004 to join his father who was working in a local university.

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