Lao police are hunting for the person who shot dead a Chinese woman during an attempted robbery as she and her husband walked along a road in the capital Vientiane on July 11, the police officer in charge of the case said Wednesday.
Lee-Yen Tin, the 45-year-old manager of the Sang Chieng Chinese trade center in the capital’s Sikhottabong district, died during the apparent robbery that turned deadly on the T2 road, also known as Asean Road, said a person close to Tin who requested anonymity.
A witness said a man and a woman pulled up on a motorbike, confronted the couple with a gun, and demanded her handbag around 9:25 p.m., according to a Vientiane Times report.
When she refused, the woman on the bike shot her in the back, killing her instantly as the bullet passed through her chest, the report said.
“We have not yet arrested the perpetrator and are now collecting information and evidence from witnesses and CCTV video cameras in order to capture the image of the killer,” the officer, who requested anonymity, told RFA’s Lao Service.
“If the killer is Chinese we will hand her over to Chinese authorities, but if she is Lao, she must be prosecuted here,” he said.
The Chinese embassy is urging Lao authorities to arrest the shooter as quickly as possible.
“We are cooperating with local police to investigate and arrest the perpetrator and punish her,” Hong Chiang, secretary to the Chinese ambassador to Laos, told RFA.
“According to a witness, the motive was robbery,” he said.
“The investigation is the responsibility of Lao police,” Hong Chiang said. “If there are businessmen or Chinese people who know about the killing, we want them to provide details to the police as further evidence.”
Other shooting deaths
Other incidents of Chinese nationals being shot to death in Laos occurred earlier this year, although robbery did not appear to be the motive of the attacks by unknown gunmen.
On March 1, a Chinese man died and three others were injured when armed “bandits” shot them as they were logging in Viengkham village in Luang Prabang province’s Phoukhoun district, a retired soldier with high-ranking contacts and Lao authorities told RFA at the time.
The logging company they worked for is clearing land for the Nam Ngum 3 hydropower project.
Later that same month, unidentified gunmen wounded six Chinese nationals on a bus along a road in central Laos between Tham and Houasan villages in the Kasy district of Vientiane province about 175 kilometers (105 miles) north of the capital Vientiane.
The bus was heading to the Lao capital from Kunming in southwestern China’s Yunnan province.
China is an important investor and trade partner for fellow communist country Laos.
Although China’s growing economic footprint in Laos has caused some local discontent, none of the attacks that have involved Chinese nationals has been accompanied by political statements or any indication of motive.
Reported by Lanxang for RFA’s Lao Service. Translated by Ounkeo Souksavanah. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.