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Court Told How Korean Student Was Throttled

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Oct 13 NZPA - A Korean student was choked to death by one of three men who had picked him up hitch-hiking, a depositions hearing was told today.

Crown prosecutor Chris Lange, in his opening submission to the depositions hearing in Greymouth District Court today, said Shannon Brent Flewellen, 29, from Nelson, grabbed 25-year-old Jae Hyeon Kim in a choke hold and strangled him to death.

Flewellen, a fisherman, and a former Westport man, 31, whose name is suppressed, are charged with murdering Kim in September or October 2003.

A third man admitted a prima facie case against him, but the charge and other details against him have been suppressed.

The three are alleged to have picked up Kim on the road from Greymouth to Westport on the day he was killed.

They later pulled over and pretended the car was stuck.

Mr Lange said Mr Kim was pushing the car when he was attacked from behind and throttled by Mr Flewellen and his body was later buried.

Mr Kim's body has not been found, but he was believed to have been killed at Charleston, 27km south of Westport.

Armed police surrounded the Greymouth courthouse as the hearing got under way today.

Police said the unprecedented security was a precaution after the presence of white supremacist members at a previous court appearance in Westport.

The depositions hearing, which is being held before two Justices of the Peace from Timaru and Ashburton, was stalled this morning and did not get underway until 1pm.

Mr Lange said he could not give the reason for the delay: "There is a reason, but that's as much as I can say".

Members of the Armed Offenders Squad stood sentry at the entrance to the courthouse, two guarded the back and another was positioned across the road at the entrance to the Greymouth Police Station car park.

A police dog handler was also wandering the surrounding streets.

Security guards and the police checked the identity of everyone entering the courthouse.

The hearing continues tomorrow and is expected to last all week.

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