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Page last updated at 21:44 GMT, Saturday, 14 November 2009

Angolan 'mafia targets Chinese'

Chinese workers in Angola
Tens of thousands of Chinese work reconstructing Angola

Chinese workers in Angola are being targeted in "mafia-style" attacks that could threaten bilateral relations, say Chinese business leaders.

Recently there has been a series of violent robberies and a Chinese man was murdered in the capital, Luanda.

Many more attacks have gone unreported, according to the head of the Chinese Business Council (CBC), Xu Ning.

Last month robbers reportedly poured boiling water on three Chinese workers.

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'Afraid'

In September businessman Xu Tonggou was murdered trying to resist a robbery.

On the same day six armed men robbed the offices of a construction company, beating workers with batons and threatening them with AK-47s.

"These are just the tip of the iceberg," says Xu Ning of the CBC.

"Things have got worse in the last few months. Just last night someone I was due to have dinner with did not turn up because he had been robbed.

"Chinese people here are afraid, they are afraid. They don't know who's a criminal."

'Bad for business'

What used to be something that happened perhaps once a month has become a daily occurrence.

"This is bad for business between Angola and China," he said.

Eddie Zhang, head of Shanghai Urban Construction Group, the company building the new 50,000-capacity football stadium in Luanda, told the BBC that he was hearing of a growing number of attacks and that they weren't just normal robberies but planned "mafia-style".

Superintendent Jorge Bengue of Luanda's Police Command police however disputed there was a campaign of violence specifically targeting Chinese nationals in the city.

He said crime was a reality in any city in the world and he was not aware of any rise in incidents involving Chinese people.

There are tens of thousands of Chinese workers in Angola, involved in reconstruction projects after the country's 27-year-long civil war.

Chinese workers are also building stadiums for the 2010 African Cup of Nations.

China has given Angola more than $5bn in oil-backed loans to build infrastructure.



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