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Jan 30, 2003

Shopkeepers fed up with violent crime

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Knocking off a Chinese grocery: it’s a crime as Belizean as rice and beans–or perhaps dala chicken. But just because the modus operandi is a familiar one, it doesn’t make it any less terrifying for the victims. News 5′s Jacqueline Woods reports.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

Three years ago, eighteen-year-old Qian Xian Yang and twenty-four year old Jian Feng Liu moved with their family to Belize to try to make a better living. The family located at number twelve Antelope Street in the City and opened a grocery shop. Today, the brother and sister say they feel like prisoners in their own home following several hold-ups and robberies that have taken place in just the past year.

Qian Xian Yang, Shopkeeper

“There are many Chinese that are afraid to go out because when the shop empty, the people will thief their money, so they are afraid to go out. So many Chinese only stay in the shop, no play, nothing we can do.”

Jacqueline Woods

“It’s frustrating?”

Qian Xian Yang

“Whole day only stay in the shop. You feel happy? No. No play only watch TV, we can’t do nothing.”

The latest attack against the family took place just before 11:00 on Wednesday morning. Yang says her brother had gone out to buy supplies and after he returned home, she went to open the door for him and that is when three young men, armed with two hand guns, approached them. One of the armed assailants grabbed Yang’s hand and forced both shopkeepers inside the building. The man first struck Yang over her right ear with the weapon and demanded money, while his accomplices took Lui in a back room and beat him up.

Jian Feng Liu, Shopkeeper

“The boy ask me for the card and the money. I say no, I noh gone and get money. He asked me again to give him the money. The first time he took me to the back, I gave him all the money, but he still wanted more, so he beat me in my head and in my eye.”

The assailant stole five hundred dollars worth of phone cards and took two thousand, three hundred dollars in cash.

Qian Xian Yang

“No problem they take the money, but they still hurt my brother. I don’t know why they do that. They only want money right, so why hurt the people, it’s no good one time, two time, three time. I don’t want to live here anymore because they have too much bad boys here. When I moved here, I liked Belize, I no like Belize anymore, there’s too much bad boys.”

The family would like to see more police presence in the area and longer sentences given to those persons who make a living by stealing and beating up innocent civilians.

Qian Xian Yang

“Many trouble, many problem, so I don’t know what I can do. When police catch them, maybe it’s three or four months we are okay, we feel good, but when they come out, ooh they give us trouble again.”

Police say they have taken in one person for questioning who they believe can help them, but the criminals behind bars. Jacqueline Woods for News 5.

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