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Chinese vendors injured in Thailand shootout
By Tong Haihua (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-08-17 01:30

Two Chinese vendors were seriously injured on Sunday in an attack in Thailand's deep South while a school was torched in the violence-plagued region.

The two vendors, Huang Chengju, 19, and Zhou Zhihuan, 47, are from East China's Zhejiang Province, said Pan Guangxue, China's charge d'affaires at its embassy in Bangkok.

The two were attacked by four motorcyclists in the border province of Narathiwat while they were selling blankets to villagers in Baan Sipo of Rangae district on Sunday.

Armed with 9mm guns, the four male teenagers shot Huang in the chest and Zhou in the legs, witnesses said.

The two were immediately sent to a local hospital after they were shot, witnesses said.

Three other Chinese vendors on a rented pick-up truck were questioned by the police.

Chinese Embassy in Bangkok and China's Consulate-General in Songkhla were both looking into the incident.

China's Consulate-General in Songkhla sent a team to Narathiwat to start an investigation early morning of yesterday, said Xu Jianya, the Chinese consul.

Pan Guangxue, the charge d'affaires at the Embassy also flew to Narathiwat yesterday morning.

The shooting was part of attempts to create chaos in the south of the country, local police said.

A school building in Narathiwat's Tak Bai district was burnt down in an arson attack on Sunday morning.

Flames ripped though the building as a 20-strong village patrol and local residents tried in vain to contain the blaze, police said.

The police believed at least two arsonists sneaked into the school and started the fire.

Pairat Sangthong, director of Educational Region 2 in Narathiwat said the building had been targeted earlier in April, but local villagers had managed to put the fire out that time.

Thailand's Muslim-dominated south has been the scene of constant violence since the beginning of this year. Police officers, government officials and civilians are often victims of the violence. More than 300 people have been killed in various attacks in the region.

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