Murder in villa shocks estate's residents

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 March, 2007, 12:00am

A woman killed in her Guangzhou home at the weekend is thought to have been murdered by a burglar who broke into a number of other villas on an estate where many Hong Kong people live.

Reports of violent crime have become common in Guangdong's newspapers over the past year, despite frequent police crackdowns and claims of falling crime rates.

The murder has heightened concerns among residents of Huanan Country Garden in Panyu district. Some said on the property's online forum that they had complained about slack security, but that this was always ignored by the property's management office.

According to residents, the murdered woman was in her 40s and lived in No 16 villa in the estate's Yingcuitao section. She was believed to have come from Zhanjiang in east Guangdong, and ran a business with her husband in Guangzhou.

The Southern Metropolis News reported that the woman was killed in her living room at about 1am, when she caught someone robbing her house. The report said several nearby villas were also found to have been burgled by the same culprit. It quoted a witness as saying the woman's 16-year-old daughter was in the villa, but escaped by hiding in another room.

Police were unavailable for comment, and the estate's management refused to discuss the incident.

A representative from the estate's office confirmed that many Hongkongers lived on the estate, but a specific figure was not available. According to its official website, the estate covers 100 hectares and has a sales office in Hong Kong.

Similar murders have occurred over the past few years in villa clusters in Guangdong. In March 2005 a woman was stabbed to death by a robber in her villa on an estate also in Panyu district.