Diplomat attacked by jobless knifeman

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 June, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 June, 1998, 12:00am

In a fresh sign of social unrest, a Russian diplomat and his family were attacked in their car by a knife-wielding unemployed worker.

The incident occurred at night in a car park outside the prestigious Saite department store opposite Beijing's main diplomatic compound in Jianguomenwai on May 28.

The diplomat, his wife and baby daughter were sitting in the vehicle, which bore diplomatic number plates, when the attacker climbed in and pointed the knife at the baby. He ordered the diplomat to drive off.

Pretending not to understand, the diplomat offered the man money, then grabbed the knife.

His wife escaped with the baby while the diplomat struggled with the man, eventually overpowering him.

Sources said bystanders did not intervene, but the diplomat's wife managed to get help from security guards nearby.

It took police three hours to arrive.

The assailant was said to be from Changchun, in Jilin province.

He told police he needed money to get home and had not eaten for three days. He is now in custody awaiting trial.