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2 Chinese shot dead in robbery in S. Africa
Updated: 2004-10-18 08:43

Two Chinese men working in South Africa were shot dead in an armed robbery Sunday noon near Bloemfontein, according to the Chinese consulate general in Johannesburg and a friend of the victims.

The men were shot in the head by between three and four robbers who broke into a factory canteen while the two victims were having lunch with two other Chinese colleagues.

The armed robbers bundled the Chinese, looted some 80,000 rand (US$12,300) and shot two of them before they fled on two cars of the victims.

One of the Chinese died at the scene and the other was announced dead after he was rushed to a nearby hospital.

Local police have arrested three suspects, all black men.

The two dead worked at a plastic bag factory in an industrial area about 50 km from Bloemfontein.

Although a small community in South Africa, the Chinese, many of whom doing business, have become an easy target of robberies and murders in the crime-ridden country in recent years.

At least 12 Chinese have been murdered and another eight injured in robberies across South Africa since January, with economic losses surpassing 900,000 US dollars, according to a Johannesburg-based Chinese community security center.

South Africa is often labeled "the violent crime capital of theworld" with nearly daily reports of gruesome crimes and grim statistics. It has the highest incidence of rape per capita and, depending on the year, either the highest or second highest per capita murder rate.

Everyone who can afford it lives behind high walls with alarms, electric fences and armed security response systems.

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