• Kyodo

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A 22-year-old Japanese student died after being involved in a fight early Wednesday at his school in Auckland, and nine men reported to be Japanese have been arrested and charged with assault in the case, police said.

The student suffered head injuries after being involved in a fight with up to 30 other people, the New Zealand Herald reported.

Emergency services were called to the Columbus Academy in West Harbor, West Auckland, at around 3:30 a.m., police spokeswoman Rebekah Holt told Kyodo News. The academy consists of four or five residential properties catering to Japanese students.

The student, who had been living in New Zealand for less than five years, died from injuries sustained in the fight, but the official cause of death is awaiting completion of an autopsy, Holt said. His family in Japan had been contacted and the victim’s name will be released Thursday.

Eight of the nine men remain in custody, Holt said, adding one was released on bail. The victim and the nine were all studying or working in Auckland while living at the academy, she said.

About 30 people were in the area at the time of the student’s death and police are conducting an investigation, the spokeswoman said, adding that more serious charges could be filed in the future.

The Columbus Academy is a nonprofit organization based in Yokohama, a spokesman told Kyodo News. It assists youngsters struggling with problems of truancy and domestic violence.

Its Auckland-based academy opened in 1995 and caters to about 50 students, 30 living in its West Auckland dormitories and another 20 living in home-stay accommodations around the Auckland area, he said.

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