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Washroom bustup may have caused shooting
(China Daily)
Updated: 2005-12-09 06:05

An altercation with some Vietnamese over the use of a washroom might have been the cause of the death of two Chinese students in the Canadian capital of Ottawa Tuesday morning.

The two students, named Tian Linhai and Liu Tailang, were shot dead at the Fullhouse Karaoke Tea Caf in the city's Chinatown at about 2:45 am, local police confirmed yesterday.

A report on a local Chinese website said the two students had a bitter quarrel with a group of Vietnamese over the use of a washroom and came to blows.

One Vietnamese walked out of the caf and returned minutes later with a handgun. He rushed to the Chinese students' Karaoke room, shot repeatedly at the two victims and then fled, www.ttcen.com reported. Several other Chinese students in the room were extremely traumatized, and one girl was unable to talk coherently while dialing emergency services.

Several other netizens confirmed on the website that the shooter was a Vietnamese. But the Chinese Embassy in Canada said the case was still under investigation and refused to confirm the rumours.

"It might be true, but so far it is just speculation," said Wang Pengfei, an education officer at the embassy. "We've urged the Canadian police to crack it as soon as possible."

Local newspapers said detectives wouldn't reveal a possible motive for the shooting and have yet to identify any suspects, although it's believed there was only a single shooter.

Police said they have not recovered the weapon, believed to be a semi-automatic handgun, according to a report by the Ottawa Citizen. Police don't believe the shooting was related to illegal gambling or drugs.

Danny Tam, 19, who visits the club at least once a week, said he was shocked to hear of the shooting because the place felt safe. "It's not like gambling; it's just casual," he was quoted by the Citizen as saying.

Many youths in the area said that the caf is a popular nightspot for young Asians particularly foreign university students visiting Ottawa from countries such as China, the report said.

The bar used to be an Asian fusion restaurant called Basil Leaf before it was transformed into a karaoke bar and bubble tearoom a few months ago. It opens from 11 am to 3 am the next morning.

But Peter So, owner of So Good Restaurant located opposite to the crime scene, told the Citizen he was not surprised to hear about the shooting, and said the area has become more dangerous.

"I think this street has a problem," he was quoted as saying.

So pointed out spray-painted graffiti on the brick walls beside his shop, which he called gang symbols, the report said. He wanted to see more police patrols in the area.

The embassy did not confirm the students' names, because "their relatives said they were not willing to make the names public," Wang told China Daily.

But passport copies show the students were from Northwest China's Qinghai Province and North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Both were 20, Wang said.

Relatives of the two victims are expected to arrive in Ottawa at the weekend, Wang said. They might get insurance compensation and part of the tuition fees back, but the exact amount was not revealed.

(China Daily 12/09/2005 page2)

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