Father and daughter killed in Italy

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 06 January, 2012, 12:00am


Armed robbers attacked a Chinese family on a street in Rome on Wednesday, killing the father and daughter and seriously wounding the mother, local reports said.

News of the incident prompted a backlash among Chinese internet users, with some expressing concerns about what they perceive as the deteriorating safety of Chinese businesspeople in Italy.

Without going into details, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Rome told the South China Morning Post they were dealing with the incident. He said it should not be viewed as a racist attack, adding that the general safety of Chinese people had not deteriorated in Italy. He declined to give his name or any information about the victims.

The Italian daily La Repubblica reported the incident happened in the evening on Casilina Road when two youths on a scooter approached the family and demanded money. When the victims refused, they were shot.

The man died at the scene from a bullet to his chest, while his young daughter, who was in his arms at the time, was shot in the head and died on the way to hospital, according to the Corriere della Sera daily. The woman was shot in the arm.

The paper said the attack was one of a growing number of shootings in the Italian capital in recent months.

Posts on the mainland microblogging website Weibo said the victims were from Wenzhou, Zhejiang, and there were online calls for a protest, as well as for a candlelit vigil at the scene of the shooting.

Some posters claiming to be Chinese living in Rome said the girl was just nine months old, and they called on the Chinese embassy and local authorities to step up efforts to protect Chinese there.

Li Jianzhong, business development director of the Wenzhou Business Association in Rome, said: 'Robbery is a way of life in Rome, but I have not heard of any involving so many deaths. I don't think it was particularly aimed at Chinese. It is an unfortunate incident that can happen to anybody, anywhere, including back home in China.'