Key Points:

The kung fu battlers who captured a New Zealand martial arts master wanted for murder say they will give most of the US$10,000 New Zealand Police reward to the tiny girl known as "Pumpkin".

The six people in the small town of Chamblee in Atlanta, Georgia, recognised the fugitive Nai Yin Xue when he was pictured in a Chinese-language newspaper as wanted for the murder of wife Anan Liu in Auckland last September.

The case drew widespread attention when Xue allegedly fled to America after abandoning his three-year-old daughter Quan Xun Xue - initially known as "Pumpkin" - in a Melbourne railway station.

The six did not know of any reward when they used two belts, a newspaper and a rose-pattern blanket to capture the fugitive.

Today, the five men and one woman received certificates of appreciation from the town of Chamblee.

But the Atlanta Journal-Constitution also reported that hours after hearing of the reward, the group agreed on how to divvy up the US$10,000 ($12,683).

The newspaper reported it had seen a Chinese-language contract with six signatures. The hand-written note committed US$2000 to an elderly friend who couldn't care for himself.

"The other US$8000 is headed back across the globe, to a little girl whose mother is gone," the newspaper reported.

Gui Sen Wu, a 46-year-old cook, Qing Chen, a 56-year-old sushi chef, and a distant relative, Dong Shun Li, and two others initially tried to tell the Chamblee police the wanted man would be in the Shallowford Arms apartment complex the next day, the newspaper reported.

But local police told them to call again when they knew Xue's exact whereabouts.

Parents themselves, Mr Wu and his friends couldn't shake the image of little orphan Quan Xun Xue, so they put together their plan to capture Xue.

Xue was invited to an apartment, and Wei Chen, 44 - who delivers Chinese food for a living, but stands over 180cm tall - was selected to initiate the capture.

When Mr Chen lunged, Xue threw an elbow leaving him with a bruised thigh. But Xin Bao Li, a wiry cook also brought in for muscle, put Xue in a headlock and the pair wrestled the 90kg man to the floor.

Mr Qi, meanwhile, stripped Xue visitor of his belt and used it to bind his hands. He grabbed another belt and a pair of pants to tie up Xue's legs. The men threw a woollen blanket over Xue's head.

They said the only words Xue screamed were directed at Mr Qi: "You are not a good friend to me."

Meanwhile, Mr Wu made a 911 call for police, who fetched a Mandarin-speaking teller from a nearby bank and grilled Xue.

He claimed it was a big mix-up and said his name was "Peter Tong."

But a routine search turned up a New Zealand driver's license. It carried the name of a man wanted in three countries: Nai Yin Xue, the newspaper reported.

- NZPA