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Aussie appears in court on Hong Kong murder charge


Kelsey Mudd has been charged with murder after a taxi crash.
Arjun Ramachandran - June 29, 2009

An Australian man has appeared in a Hong Kong court charged with the murder of a city taxi driver.

Kelsey Lord Michael Mudd, aged 22, appeared at Eastern Magistrates' Court today charged with the murder of the 58-year-old driver in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Mudd, dressed in a navy blazer, checked shirt and khaki trousers, confirmed his name and did not enter a plea during the short hearing.

Hong Kong police have charged a 22-year-old Australian man with murder following a fatal traffic accident in which a taxi driver was killed.

He wore a surgical mask in the dock, and cuts were clearly visible on his face. Mudd's parents both attended court.

His request for bail was turned down and the case was adjourned until a later date.

According to the Sunday Morning Post, which cited police sources, Mudd and the driver had had a dispute shortly before the incident, in Hong Kong's central district.

The taxi smashed into a railing and then hit three taxis travelling in the opposite direction, a police statement said.

After the crash, the passenger moved into the driver's seat and drove off on the wrong side of the road, before hitting another taxi, the statement said.

Mudd has been living in the US in recent years, and had no known Australian address.

However he was travelling on an Australian passport at the time of his arrest, a Department of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman said.

He is listed as a "chaplain" of the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity at California State University in Chico.

Fraternity president Matthew Stewart confirmed Mudd had been involved in an "issue" in Hong Kong, but declined to elaborate.

"He's an amazing friend and I love him dearly ... but that's all I want to say about it," he said.

The 58-year-old driver of the taxi was certified dead several hours after the smash.

A police spokeswoman said Mudd was first arrested on suspicion of drink-driving and taking the vehicle without authority, the Sunday Morning Post said.

But officers had sought advice on a possible murder charge, it said.

with AFP

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