A Chinese national was shot dead and two others were injured on Wednesday afternoon after an unidentified assailant opened fire inside a dental clinic in Karachi’s Saddar area, a police official said.
Speaking at the scene of the crime, SSP South Asad Raza told reporters that one person was killed and two people were injured who were shifted to a hospital for treatment. He confirmed that the three were Chinese people.
He told Dawn.com that at around 4:05pm, an unidentified person posing as a patient came to the private dental clinic of Dr Richard Hu near Preedy Street and sat in the waiting area for tooth treatment.
“After about 15 to 20 minutes, he entered the clinic area and opened fire on Dr Richard Hu, his wife Mrs Phen Teyin and Ronald Raymond Chou with a 9mm pistol,” he said.
“The assailant was wearing a red cap and was clad in dark blue trousers and shirt,” Raza elaborated, continuing that the suspect managed to escape from the crime scene with help of his accomplice who had parked his motorbike around the corner of Preedy Street towards M.A. Jinnah Road.
As a result of the firing, Dr Richard and Phen Teyin sustained bullet injuries, while Ronald, who was their employee, passed away on the spot.
“Reportedly, Dr Richard H is running a private clinic in this area of Karachi for more than 40 years and the three victims held dual nationality of China and Pakistan,” the official added.
Raza said that the police responded to the emergency in time and cordoned the area for the collection of evidence. “The CCTV of the clinic and nearby shops have been obtained and is being processed for identification of the assailant.”
Geo-fencing of the area was also undertaken to obtain important clues about the incident, he said. The investigation of the incident will be carried out by the Counter-Terrorism Department.
“At this stage, the motive of the incident remains unclear whether the victims were targeted owing to personal reasons or it was a terrorist attack,” opined SSP Raza, adding that further investigation was underway.
Meanwhile, CTD DIG Asif Aijaz Shaikh told Dawn.com that nothing conclusive about the possible motive could be said at the moment.
He said that a team of CTD investigators was at the spot and probing the incident, adding that the findings would be shared with the media later.
Another CTD official, Raja Umer Khattab, said that the incident appeared to be a targeted killing carried out after a proper reconnaissance.
“Mostly Chinese [people] who came on a visa and are affiliated with projects have been targeted in the past. But the Chinese dentist has been living in the country for the last 50 years and has become a Pakistani now,” he said.
They were attacked as they were an “easy” target, Khattab added.
Police surgeon Dr Summaiya Syed told Dawn.com that at around 4:38pm, Ronald Raymond Chou, 32, was brought dead to the Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi. He had suffered two fatal bullet injuries on his neck and back.
Dr Syed said that two others — a man and a woman — were taken to the Jinnah Post-Graduate Medical Centre in an injured state.
The police surgeon said the condition of both the injured foreigners was critical as they had suffered bullet wounds in their abdomen.
Both were provided initial treatment at Jinnah Post-Graduate Medical Centre and after completion of medicolegal formalities, she said, adding that they were later shifted to the Aga Khan University Hospital for further treatment.
Asif, a neighbour of the Chinese couple who also owns a clinic in the area, said that the injured couple had children who live abroad, while Dr Hu’s brother, who is also a dentist, runs a clinic in another area of the city.
Meanwhile, the deceased man working as a “cashier-receptionist” was also a relative of the couple, he said.
Asif added he saw that the assailant wore a ‘red cap’ and fled on a parked motorbike. At the time of the incident, around 12-15 persons including staff were present inside the clinic, he said.
Taking notice of the incident, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah directed the chief secretary of Sindh to prepare a report on the firing and immediately arrest the perpetrators.
In a tweet, he condemned the incident and expressed sorrow over the death of the Chinese citizen. “Such incidents are intolerable. The security of Chinese residents should be ensured in every way,” Sanaullah added.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also condemned the attack and expressed regret over the death.
He ordered that the investigation be completed immediately and the culprits brought to justice. “Such cowardly and intolerable attacks cannot create cracks in Pakistan-China friendship, which is higher than the Himalayas and deeper than the seas,” Bilawal said.
Earlier, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah also took notice of the killing, according to a spokesperson.
The CM sought a detailed report from the Karachi Additional IGP. Shah also ordered the immediate arrest of the attackers and observed that such incidents were not tolerable, according to the official statement.
This incident is the latest in the recent spate of attacks on Chinese nationals in the country. In April, three Chinese nationals were killed in a suicide attack outside the University of Karachi’s (KU) Confucius Institute.
A year earlier, a suicide bomb attack at a luxury hotel hosting the Chinese ambassador in Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan, killed four and wounded dozens. The ambassador was unhurt.
In July last year, a bus carrying engineers to a construction site near a dam in northwestern Pakistan was hit by a bomb, killing 13 people including nine Chinese workers.