China concerned by embassy robbery

(China Daily)
Updated: 2006-11-14 06:55

The Ministry of Commerce expressed great concern Monday over a robbery of the Chinese Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela, on Saturday.

Four gunmen robbed the commercial department of the embassy. The men broke through the main gate with guns in hand, tied up embassy staff and threatened to kill a diplomat, according to Gu Naiyi, a staff member with the department.

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They ran away after stealing both embassy and personal belongings. The department has resumed operations and the case is under investigation.

The ministry urged the department to tighten security measures to ensure the safety of its staff.

Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing yesterday also urged Venezuela Government to take concrete measures to protect Chinese and their properties.

In another development, the president of a group representing oil companies in Ecuador on Sunday (local time) criticized the takeover of a Chinese consortium's pumping facilities by local people.

The president of the Hydrocarbon Company Association of Ecuador, Rene Ortiz, said in a statement on Sunday that international companies have been "blackmailed" by indigenous communities.

The complaint came a day after 300 protesters ended a three-day seizure of Chinese consortium Andes Petroleum to demand more job opportunities for their community.

More than 40 Ecuadorean employees were taken hostage, but they have all been released unharmed, according to an informed source from China National Petroleum Corporation, which leads the consortium.

Protesters in Ecuador's Amazon region seized the oil installations of Andes Petroleum in Tarapoa, a jungle city 240 kilometres from capital Quito, taking more than 40 workers hostage and slashing its crude output from 42,000 barrels per day to 14,000, the company said on Friday.

The company said that the accident interrupted its normal production and caused big losses.

"Our installations in Tarapoa are completely under the control of protesters," the company said in a Friday statement.

The company refused to negotiate with protesters under such pressure, holding leaders responsible for the illegal activities, the statement said.

The Fourth Division of the Ecuadorean Army had been mobilized to help clear out the protesters.

Ecuador's powerful indigenous movement has often targeted large oil companies, demanding jobs for local communities.

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