Chinese company speaks out on violent crime in Liberia

A Chinese railway company in Liberia has spoken publicly about the threat of violence faced by Chinese people working in the country.

"A Chinese woman stabbed at the Monrovia Vocational Training Institute and died later. A Chinese man was stabbed at the Ministerial Complex of Liberia, and is now in a critical condition. And a Chinese man was robbed at a Chinese Logging Company in Buchanan in Grand Bassa County," said An Fengbin, interpreter for state-owned China Railway No. 5 Engineering Group.

An was speaking to journalists with the company’s general manager, Zhang Shihua, reports Front Page Africa.

The woman was reportedly stabbed by a former student in the course of a mugging.

The comments were made during a press conference at the company’s Congotown headquarters, in response to a question about the risks of doing business in Liberia.

Zhang added that other threats came from the poor conditions of Liberia’s roads during the rainy season, which caused delays and the need to pay "death fees". He mentioned one of the company’s Liberian employees who died days after a collision, after which the company paid his family two years’ wages.

Presidents Weah and Xi meeting at the2018 Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (The Presidency of Liberia)

The company has been in the country since 2010, when it constructed the Bong Mines Bridge in the capital of Monrovia. It has since worked on a 66km road connecting Harper, the capital of Maryland County, and Fish Town in Rivergee County, which is still under construction.

Despite the dangers posed by armed robbery, China Railway No 5 is looking out for its second contract from the Liberian government, now headed by George Weah, who was elected president in 2017.

Zhang said: "We are hearing about other government projects coming. We are hearing about the upcoming Coastal Road construction project by President Weah’s government, and we are hearing about the Zwedru-to-Ganta road project."

China Number 5 also has a presence in other countries in the region, including Ghana, the Benin Republic, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo. As well as road, rail in bridge building, it undertakes harbours, tunnels and hydropower schemes.

Top image: The Monrovia Vocational Training Institute, where a Chinese woman was fatally stabbed (MVTI)

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