4 Feb 2010

Chapels overflow with mourners for slain taxi driver

7:42 pm on 4 February 2010

Hundreds of mourners have paid their last respects to an Auckland taxi driver stabbed after picking up a customer at the weekend.

Hiren Mohini, 39, a father of two, was stabbed to death about 1.30am in the suburb of Mt Eden on Sunday after picking up a passenger in the central city.

Mourners filled two chapels at Waikumete cemetery in west Auckland on Thursday, with many more spilling outside.

Friends of Mr Mohini made a plea to the Government to instigate tougher sentences to deter people from committing violent crimes.

Those who attended the funeral included politicians, investigating officers and hundreds of taxi drivers who arrived in procession with black ribbons tied to their cabs.

Mr Mohini's uncle spoke at the service, describing his nephew's death as untimely, violent and horrific.

Other family members spoke of him being a smiling, caring, quiet family man with a wide circle of friends.

Mr Mohini's cousin described the death as barbaric, saying it has shocked family in New Zealand, India and around the world.

Driver may have been killed over $15 fare

Detective Senior Sergeant Hywel Jones says that after an eight-minute journey from the city centre to Mt Eden there was an unpaid fare of $15.20, which may have been why Mr Mohini was killed.

Police say they do not believe robbery was behind the frenzied attack, nor that it was planned and there is no evidence anything was taken from the taxi.

A royal blue bag with the brand-name Dicon Aibi was found near the scene of the killing, along with a black synthetic shoulder strap.

Police say the bag, which has blood on it, does not belong to anyone in the immediate area.

Mr Jones will not say where exactly the bag was found or what was inside it but says it could be a crucial lead.