Asian driver is stabbed to death

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AN ASIAN taxi-driver died in Birmingham yesterday when he tried to help a colleague who had been harassed by three white passengers, writes Vikram Dodd.

Ashiq Hussain, 20, from the Sparkhill area and married with an 18-month-old daughter, was stabbed in the stomach when the driver who had picked up the three men in the city centre returned to his firm's offices.

Police are examining the tape of a nearby security camera in the hope that it may have caught the attackers on film. They said they were keeping an open mind about a possible racial motive to the stabbing, though the men were believed to have been drinking heavily. Det Supt David Millichamp said the stabbing was unprovoked.

Ashiq Ali, owner of the firm, said: 'The driver had radioed in for help and when he came in around midnight four drivers came out to see what was happening. There was a row and one of the three stabbed Mr Hussain, and then the passengers ran off.'

Pat Murtheh, chair of the Birmingham Private Hire Federation, said that many drivers in the city were thinking of quitting because of increasing violence. 'It is very difficult for them to protect themselves as they are in close proximity to passengers,' she said.

'About 80 per cent of minicab drivers in Birmingham are Asian and they do suffer considerably from violence. They get picked on more than white drivers.'