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Wednesday, 26 June, 2002, 14:30 GMT 15:30 UK
Man killed in casino brawl
China Palace Casino, Birmingham
A 45-year-old man died in the casino entrance
A man was killed and two others are critically ill after a fight erupted at a casino and spilled out on to a city centre street.

The incident occurred at the China Palace in Hurst Street, Birmingham, in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Police closed roads in the area for eight hours as they searched for evidence - leading to delays for rush-hour commuters.

Nine people have been arrested and seven people are in hospital suffering from stab wounds.

CCTV clue

Chief Inspector Ellie Bird, from West Midlands Police, said: "The first incident occurred inside the China Palace casino just after midnight and involved a small number of people.

"That is where the fatality occurred.

"But at about the same time, we've actually identified on CCTV cameras on Smallbrook Queensway another incident."

A police spokesman confirmed that the two incidents are believed to be linked.

Chief Inspector Ellie Bird
Chief Inspector Bird is checking previous crimes
The dead man, who was 45, was a customer at the casino and was killed in the entrance to the building.

Two others, aged 28 and 35, are in a critical condition in the City Hospital.

A further two men, aged 55 and 29, are being treated in the same hospital but their conditions are described as "not life threatening."

The other injured men are a 37-year-old who was taken to Stafford Hospital and two people in their mid-20s who were treated at Selly Oak Hospital.

One of the men at Selly Oak has been arrested along with eight other people.

Some of those involved in the fighting are of Vietnamese origin.

Armed robbery

Forty officers are investigating the incident and detectives have appealed for information about a dark coloured Vauxhall Frontera which was seen nearby.

Many streets in the surrounding area were closed until 0800 BST on Wednesday.

The China Palace was the scene of an armed robbery 18 months ago.

Chief Inspector Bird said: "We will look at all incidents that have occurred at these premises before.

"But there is nothing to suggest at this stage that any members of staff are involved in what happened here earlier this morning."


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