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'Accidental millionaire' in court

A petrol station owner suspected of withdrawing millions of dollars and going on the run after a bank error has appeared in a New Zealand court after being extradited from Hong Kong.

Hui "Leo" Gao was in Manukau District Court accused of stealing 6.78 million dollars (£3.3m) from Westpac Bank.

He was sent back home this week by Hong Kong police after they arrested him in September as he tried to cross into the city from mainland China.

Gao faces 16 charges of theft and two counts of money laundering.

In 2009 he and partner Kara Hurring ran a petrol station in the scenic New Zealand tourist destination of Rotorua when they mistakenly received a credit line of 10 million dollars (£4.9m) - 100 times their approved limit.

Media reports said Gao was remanded in custody to reappear at the Rotorua District Court on Friday.

Hurring, 32, returned voluntarily to New Zealand earlier this year to face theft charges, which she denies, and is due to stand trial in February.


From Belfast Telegraph