Chinese fugitive to be deported

February 29, 2008 6:50:14 PM PST
A Chinese fugitive accused of killing his wife in New Zealand, abandoning his 3-year-old daughter in Australia and fleeing to the United States will be deported instead of facing an extradition hearing, officials said Friday. Justice Department officials decided that Nai Yin Xue will be removed from the U.S., said Pat Reilly, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE officials will eventually accompany him back to New Zealand, she said.

An interpreter and a federal public defender had initially come to U.S. District Court in Atlanta on Friday in anticipation of a court appearance by Xue, the publisher of a Chinese-language magazine in New Zealand and a well-known figure in the ethnic Chinese community in Auckland.

A person without legal ties to the U.S. who is arrested here on suspicion of a crime in another country can be deported under certain circumstances without the due process given to U.S.

citizens, Reilly said.

Xue, who had been sought in the September slaying of his wife, Anan Liu, was captured Thursday after residents of an apartment complex in Chamblee, Ga., recognized him from pictures that had been published in the media and called police, said Thomas Hession, chief inspector of the U.S. Marshals Service, at a news conference in Los Angeles.

When the residents, who were of Chinese descent, confronted Xue about his identity, he attempted to leave the building, but they detained him before police arrived, Hession said, not elaborating.

It was not clear why Xue went to Georgia, though Chamblee has a large Asian community. It is not unusual for fugitives from other countries to try to blend in to avoid capture, Reilly said.

Authorities say Xue killed his wife in Auckland, New Zealand's largest city, then flew to Australia and abandoned his daughter at a train station in Melbourne. A security camera recorded the scene as Xue left her alone at the station. He then flew to Los Angeles and went into hiding.

There was a delay between the suspected murder and a warrant being issued for Xue's arrest, as several days passed before Liu's body was found in the trunk of a car, by which time Xue had flown to the U.S.

Xue entered the U.S. in late September as part of a visa waiver pilot program that allows nationals of certain countries to enter for 90 days without a visa, Reilly said. Xue's visit expired in December.

It was not known Friday whether Xue had an attorney. Colin Garrett, a federal public defender, was in court Friday in anticipation of representing Xue provided he qualified, but did not meet with him.

During the five-month investigation, Xue was tracked across the country, Hession said. His picture was posted on billboards in several Southern states, and he was featured on television's "America's Most Wanted."

Xue, a martial arts expert, initially told police he was someone else, Hession said, but he was carrying a New Zealand driver's license. When confronted, he admitted his identity.

His daughter, Qian Xun Xue, is living in China with her close family. She has been nicknamed "Pumpkin" after the brand of clothing she was wearing when found abandoned and crying for her mother at the train station.