China in shock over PNG murders

FOUR Shanghainese, who ran a bakery store in Port Moresby, capital of Papua New Guinea, were hacked to death, the Chinese Embassy said yesterday.

The incident occurred at around 9pm local time on Monday when three men and a woman were killed by the attackers, The Beijing News quoted a Chinese Embassy official as saying.

The four victims have been identified as a couple, who ran the store for more than 10 years, and their two workers. All of them are from Shanghai, embassy official Yin Weijiang said.

Wang Chuanjiang, brother of the store owner Wang Chuanhai, survived the attack after locking himself up in a room and called the police, Yin said.

Yin said the store was closed at that time of the attack. Two local workers were preparing bread on the ground floor, and the victims were on the second floor.

The Chinese heard commotion on the ground floor, and two of them went down to check. They were attacked by the assailants. About half an hour later, the three others on the second floor went down to check on the other two, and they were also attacked. Wang rushed back and locked himself into a room and survived the massacre.

The robbers took away 30,000 yuan to 40,000 yuan from the store's cash register but other valuable items in the store were not touched. The local police were investigating the incident.

Two local workers, who were not attacked, have been held for questioning.

They said several masked robbers broke into the store with knives. But Wang said he only saw one attacker.

The robbers warned the locals not to make any moves or look back, and did not target them.

All the victims died of multiple stab wounds.

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister has condemned the "brutal and cowardly attack" and called on the community to stay calm.

"...I want to assure the government of China and relatives of those killed that police will get all the help necessary to track down and bring the perpetrators to justice," Prime Minister Peter O'Neill said in a statement.

In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China's ambassador to Papua New Guinea called senior officials in the country demanding swift justice, "and that Papua New Guinea take robust measures to ensure the safety of Chinese nationals and property."

She said Chinese officials will provide all necessary support to the victims' families.

The premises of the shop were secured with high fences and razor wire, and the attacker, or attackers, were thought to have jumped over the fence into the premises, BBC News reported, quoting local newspaper The National.

"There were many knife wounds to their bodies," police commander Andy Bawa said, adding that the killings were "senseless, inhumane and barbaric".

A man who claimed to be a nephew of the store owner Wang Chuanhai said on the microblog that his uncle left for Papua New Guinea with his brother about 10 years ago. He said his family did not have any details of the case.

Another relative of Wang, who refused to be identified, said the 59-year-old man had called his daughter in Shanghai a few hours before the attack, saying his health was not good and that he planned to return to Shanghai for good in August.

Wang would visit Shanghai every year during the Chinese Lunar New Year festival.

The relative said Wang had bought two guns in a country where the crime rates are high.

Papua New Guinea recently passed legislation expanding its use of the death penalty, because the country has suffered high levels of violence and murder.

Source:Shanghai Daily

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