Chinese man just misses seeing his wife’s brutal KZN killers sentenced

2013-08-22 00:00

CHINESE businessman Shoulong Chen hoped to arrive from China yesterday in time to see two of the three men who brutally murdered his shopkeeper wife in Umzimkhulu in June brought to book.

However, his flight was delayed and he was not present when Pietermaritzburg high court Judge Rashid Vahed sentenced Sivuyile Lukhakhayi and Amandla Vukhapi (both 21) to life plus 15 years’ imprisonment each for the “vicious” murder and robbery of Meimei Wang (34) in her shop on June 17.

The killers struck when her husband was away on business and she was alone in the store.

Attorney Samlal Garbaran, who attended the case on behalf of Chen, accompanied by two representatives of the Chinese community, said they welcomed the fact that Vahed imposed the maximum sentences on Lukhakhayi and Vukhapi.

He said the family and the Chinese business community were disappointed when co-perpetrator Tshidiso Rampesi (18) was jailed effectively for only 20 years by acting judge Madlala Xolo recently.

“In China they have the death penalty and obviously this is what they would have preferred,” he added.

He said the family had seen video footage of the murder taking place and “it was brutal”. It showed Lukhakhayi and Vukhapi stabbing Wang repeatedly as she lay on the floor, and Rampesi hitting her nine times on the head with a gas cylinder. They then poured paraffin on her body, but fled when they heard the police approaching and therefore did not set her body alight, he said.

Garbaran said although there were 21 fatal stab wounds inflicted (as mentioned by Judge Vahed), the actual number of wounds on the body, including superficial injuries, was 58.

He said Wang was the mother of three children aged eight, five and three.

The children are living in China with their father, who has returned there and has closed down the business in Umzimkhulu.

In his judgment yesterday, Judge Vahed said in his opinion Rampesi was “particularly fortunate” to have escaped the maximum penalties. “No doubt the fact that he was 18 years old was of significance,” he said.

In addition, it was Lukhakhayi and Vukhapi who had taken turns to stab the victim to death, while Rampesi hit her with a gas cylinder after the stabbing had already taken place.

“You brought to an end the life of a person who did you no wrong and you did so in a particularly vicious fashion,” the judge told the two when finding there were no substantial and compelling circumstances that justified less than the maximum sentences.

Both pleaded guilty, but the judge found they were not truly remorseful and only paid “lip service” to their assertion that they were.

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