Five Japanese men charged with telephone fraud and murder appeared in court in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, on Wednesday.
"The defendants tied and beat to death a Japanese man who was also a member of their fraud gang," the public prosecutor said in court.
The defendants, surnamed Sato, Sugahara, Yauchi, Tsumura and Shinoda and ranging in age from 25 to 41, argued that the victim actually died after his head hit a sharp table corner on June 11, 2013, in the house they rented.
They said they gave artificial respiration to the 26-year-old victim, surnamed Konemara, but failed to revive him.
Before they left the scene, they asked a Taiwan resident to seek police help.
According to police, the gang was sent to Zhuhai in May 2013 to defraud people in Japan via telephone.
They passed themselves off as bank workers or police officers and had defrauded more than 4 million yen (S$45,000) from May to June 2013, according to police.
The court had yet to reach a verdict.