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Man in court over Perth dad's 1989 murder

AAP logoAAP 3/11/2016

A 54-year-old man charged with the stabbing murder of a father-of-eight in Perth 27 years ago has waved to detectives during his brief court appearance.

Vietnamese migrant Van Phan Nguyen, 62, was attacked as he walked home from an army surplus store and was found dead on a walkway linking Wellington Street to McIver railway station in central Perth on November 23, 1989.

Vincenzo Carlo Marotta, from Claremont, was arrested on Wednesday night following a public appeal for information earlier this week, when police said fresh information had come to light after a new investigation was launched in January.

Acting Detective Superintendent Peter Branchi said the information was helpful but wasn't the crucial missing piece in the puzzle.

"It has assisted to a certain degree and we will continue to process that information over the coming days and coming weeks," he told reporters on Thursday.

"I thank the public for that."

Marotta appeared in Perth Magistrates Court hours later wearing a striped top and was remanded in custody to appear in Stirling Gardens Magistrates Court on November 30.

As he was led away, Marotta waved to detectives he spotted in the public gallery.

Police allege it was a random attack and the victim was stabbed many times.

"It would appear that the victim was in the wrong place at the wrong time," Acting Det Supt Branchi said.

The family issued a statement saying they were surprised, relieved and happy that someone had been charged after all this time.

"Knowing the person our father was, we never believed there was any reason he might have been targeted and always thought it was pure bad luck that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time," they said.

"We want to thank the police for persevering with the investigation and look forward now to justice taking its course."

His Sydney-based son, Van Hoang Nguyen, earlier this week said the murder had a terrible effect on the family.

"He was a good man, hardworking and religious, and very popular with his workmates and customers," he said.

Mr Nguyen emigrated to Australia in 1982 with his two eldest sons, while his wife, five daughters and youngest son remained in Vietnam.

He lived in East Perth in a unit with his sons and worked as a shop assistant at a Herdsman grocery store.

None of his family lives in Perth anymore and his wife, who is elderly and unwell, lives in Sydney.

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