Newcastle Chinese factory owners targeted by crime

INDUSTRIAL AREA – As burglaries are on the increase, it seems Chinese factory owners are bearing the brunt.

“Unfortunately, a lot of people know factory owners live on their business premises,” said Chairperson of Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Alex Liu.

Burglaries in Riverside Industrial escalated into an armed robbery on Friday, April 7, when a man was shot in the face.

This, however, was not the only armed robbery when a person was shot.

Recent information has come to light that a factory owner was shot in the leg, during a burglary that went horribly wrong in February.

Factory owner, Jacky Zhuang, said the incident took place on February 18.

“I was in my factory when I heard my neighbour’s alarm go off. When I heard a gunshot, I ran outside to see what was happening.”

He saw two men leaving the neighbouring factory premises.

When the men saw him, they fled.

“They might have thought I was armed at first, but when they realised I wasn’t, they came back and came to my factory.”

Mr Zhuang ran into the building, dodging bullets as the perpetrators shot at him twice. He hid in a cupboard, fearing for his life.

The men stole a staggering R30 000 before fleeing.

When he heard the men leave, he ran to check on his neighbour, and found he had been shot in the leg.

Mr Zhuang and his neighbour were apparently targeted 12 hours after a Chinese factory owner in Madadeni had been robbed.

Another victim, Ms Jian, was robbed a few days later.

“I had gone to bath. When I came out of the bathroom, a man grabbed me by the hair and forced me into my room.”

The man and his accomplice assaulted her before making off with a substantial amount of money.

“I was preparing to visit my family in China and had drawn money and bought items to take along. I am the sole breadwinner of my family and the money I had withdrawn was to be used to purchase a small piece of land for my family.”

She was fortunate to escape with her life.

“They even slashed my bed apart, searching for more money.”

Both Mr Zhuang and Ms Jian are traumatised.

“A simple noise keeps me awake all night, as my factory gets burgled at least four times a year, but this last incident was the worst,” Mr Zhuang said.

He is convinced crime has escalated dramatically since 2011.

While acknowledging burglaries were on the increase, police Communication Liaison and Marketing Spokesperson, Lizzy Arumugam said the police were unable to reveal the statistics for burglaries in Newcastle since the beginning of the year.

She gave the assurance that police were patrolling all areas and conducting regular stop-and-search operations.

Steps to follow when you have been burgled:

Phone the police

Do this straight away. The sooner you report a crime, the greater chance the crime will be solved.

If you suspect the burglar is still inside, don’t enter. Instead, call the police from outside your property, preferably from the safety of your car or a neighbour’s home.

Don’t touch anything

A burglar will have left forensic evidence at the scene of the crime.

Obtain a reference number

The police give all reported crimes a unique reference number. Remember to make a note of this as your home insurance provider will require it when you come to make a claim.

In case you are in the premises when the burglary takes place, as was the case with the Chinese residents, Officer Arumugam said there were also steps to follow to minimise injury.

1. Do not move when seeing a stranger with a gun or knife.

2. Make no sudden movements or noise, which could be construed as an act of defence.

3. Remain calm.

4. Keep hands visible, but not above your head as this could signal an attempt to raise an alarm.

5. Demonstrate a willingness to cooperate.

Quinton Boucher

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