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Feb 8, 2016

Chinese Bar Owner Murdered in Teakettle

Zhijuang Zhang

A Chinese bar owner was brutally slashed to death at his place of business in Teakettle in the Cayo District, early Saturday morning. Fifty-two year old Zhijuang Zhang was closing up Sixty-Nine Bar at around two a.m. when a lone assailant carrying a firearm entered. In the next few moments Zhang was dead, stabbed multiple times and his throat slashed. A female employee of the bar was also injured, shot in the leg before the gunman escaped. What is believed to be the murder weapon has been recovered, it was found by a News Five reporter in an area not far from the bar. Mike Rudon went west and has the story of a violent crime which has shocked the community.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

Chinese businessman Zhijuang Zhang moved here to Teakettle late last year. He relocated the 69 Bar from Cotton Tree to this spot, a move which would prove fatal. The establishment is one like many across the country, offering cold drinks and female company. But early Saturday morning, as Zhang was closing up, a masked man armed with a gun wasn’t seeking either of those things.

 

Insp. Octaviano Victorin, O.C., Roaring Creek Police Substation

“Between the hours of 1:50 and 2:00 in the morning Police were told of an incident happening in Teakettle at a business establishment known as 69. Upon the arrival of the Police they saw the motionless body of a Chinese businessman whose name was learned to be Zhijuang Zhang, fifty-two years. The body was viewed and a total of seven cut wounds were seen on different parts of his body. Investigations so far reveal that it was a single person that committed this crime. Also in the process of this robbery a female employee of that establishment was injured. She was shot on her leg and she is presently in the hospital in Belize City.”

 

Octaviano Victorin

Saturday morning CIB personnel processed the scene, trying to find answers and evidence to point to the killer. The body of Zhang had been removed, and only bloodstains remained to show where he had taken his last breath, in a small bedroom just behind the bar.

 

Insp. Octaviano Victorin

“There were several persons detained. Several persons were interviewed. The motive we know is robbery at this moment. Police are seeking that suspect.”

 

Police recovered some money at the scene, but say they cannot determine how much money was in the establishment and how was taken by the killer. Currently nine women who worked at the bar are in Police custody, as Police explore the angle that perhaps the killer had inside help. But that’s all the information being provided at this time.

 

Insp. Octaviano Victorin

“At this moment I don’t want to go into further details because it might affect the investigation, so for the moment I will leave it that way. As soon as we have more information we can invite the media for a further interview.”

 

This afternoon the bar was closed, crime scene tape still tied across the entrance. Sources tell us the gunman ran out this way and jumped into a waiting car after killing Zhang and shooting the employee. Police did not have a murder weapon, but say that from the wounds inflicted it was either a large knife or small machete. Interesting, while we were on the scene snooping around, our news team came across this large knife thrown in the bush off the road, about fifteen feet from the entrance of the bar. It had dried red stains on it. Could this be the murder weapon? We called in the Police who arrived within minutes.

 

Insp. Octaviano Victorin

“We were looking into a knife or a small machete. That is what I had said. This knife that is now picked up has a red substance on it. So we need to do a comparison first of all to find out if it is blood…then do a comparison at the laboratory to see if it matches any blood from the body or on the scene.”

 

Police aren’t calling names officially, but sources say that they believe the killer is a well known criminal operating in the area for some time now. Mike Rudon for News Five.

 

There is a little more detail emerging this evening. The waitress who was shot has been identified as Guatemalan Jacqueline Aquino. She allegedly went to Zhang’s aid when he was accosted by the gunman, and that is when she was shot. According to reports, Zhang was taken at gunpoint to the cash drawer and he then began fighting with his attacker to take away the gun. And that’s when the masked man allegedly hauled out a knife and chopped at him repeatedly.

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