Asia Pacific / Crime & Legal

Chinese shipping employee shot dead in Pakistan's city of Karachi

Reuters

A Chinese man working with a shipping company in Pakistan was shot dead in Karachi Monday in what police described as a targeted attack, officials said.

While there was no claim of responsibility and the motive was not immediately clear, China in December warned its nationals in Pakistan of plans for imminent attacks on Chinese targets there.

Chinese presence is growing in Pakistan as Beijing has pledged $57 billion for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a flagship “Belt and Road” project that first focused on Chinese firms building roads and power stations but is now expanding to include setting up industries.

The man, identified as Chen Zhu, 45, was in his car when he was attacked in an upmarket area of the port city of Karachi.

At least 10 shots were fired at the car, and Chen suffered a single bullet wound in the head, police said.

“(It) doesn’t look like a mugging,” said Azad Khan, deputy inspector general of Karachi’s south zone.

“The victim is associated with Cosco Shipping Lines Co., a Chinese shipping company. We are trying to get further details,” Khan added.

Another officer, Javed Akbar Riaz, said Chen had an employee ID from Cosco.

A company spokeswoman in China said the cause of the incident was unclear and that there had been no impact on operations.

“The company has taken steps, first to ensure the safety of our staff overseas; secondly to inform the family so that they can go and make funeral arrangements; and thirdly we immediately contacted the local consulate and embassy to get their assistance,” the spokeswoman said.

Tens of thousands of Chinese nationals have come to Pakistan, but the new arrivals face dangers, creating a headache for Pakistani security officials.

Islamic State’s abduction and killing last June of two Chinese nationals in the southwestern province of Baluchistan highlighted the security risks that have put off many Western companies.

Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, still has a reputation for gang shootings and other violence, despite a paramilitary crackdown that began in 2013 and sharply reduced killings.

Hospital officials said Zhu was admitted in a critical condition, but later died.