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China: Around The Nation

Chinese teenager shot dead in robbery at Panama City convenience store

Youngster had been working in Central American country for two years to pay for her sister’s medical treatment

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 August, 2017, 3:09pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 August, 2017, 3:47pm

An 18-year-old Chinese woman was shot dead in Panama last week while working in a convenience store in the nation’s capital, Chinese media reported.

Pan Ziying, who hailed from the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, was working on the checkout of a Chock Hou store in the Pedregal district of Panama City on August 9 when two males ran in and tried to rob it, Sina.com reported on its news website on Thursday.

In footage taken from the shop’s surveillance cameras, one of the two men can be seen leaping over the counter and pulling Pan by the hair as he tries to get to the cash register. His accomplice, who remains on the other side of the counter, appears spooked by activity in other parts of the store and several times briefly disappears out of shot.

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Moments later the two robbers are alerted to something happening outside and flee the store. As they do, a third, armed, male runs into the frame and shoots at Pan and she falls to the floor.

According to the Sina report a 15-year-old boy has been arrested in connection with the killing, and police are hunting for three other suspects.

A tweet by Panama’s public security ministry, however, said that two minors – one of whom was identified as a 15-year-old boy – had been sentenced to one year’s detention for the “aggravated homicide of a 17-year-old girl”. It did not mention any other suspects.

The Post was unable to confirm if Pan was 17 or 18.

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The Sina report added that Pan’s cousin, who also worked at the Chock Hou outlet, was being held by unidentified suspects in another area of the shop at the time of the fatal robbery.

According to a report on Hong Kong news website Hk.on.cc, Pan had been working in Panama for two years as a way to raise money to pay for her younger sister’s medical treatment back home.

A funeral service for the teenager was held on Wednesday in Panama, and was attended by friends and members of her extended family, the Sina report said. It added that her immediate family in Guangzhou could not afford to attend.

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Tony Yan, a spokesman for the Chinese community in Panama City, condemned the murder, saying Asian businesses were a frequent target for robberies and assaults.

“We seek justice, an end to violence, more peace and security for a community that is part of Panama,” he told local news website Critica on Wednesday.

He added that Asian-owned businesses in the area would close for two hours during Pan’s funeral as a mark of respect for the young woman.