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(LEAD) N. Korean army deserter kills 4 Chinese in border town: source

All Headlines 11:40 January 05, 2015

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with quote, details to show North Korean suspect is an army deserter; CORRECTS date in 2nd para; AMENDS headline)

SHENYANG, China, Jan. 5 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean army deserter has been detained by Chinese authorities for allegedly killing four Chinese citizens in an apparent robbery in the Chinese border city of Helong, a source with knowledge of the incident said Monday.

The incident took place on Dec. 28 last year in the border town of Nanping in Helong, just north of the Tumen River overlooking North Korea's North Hamkyong Province, the source said on condition of anonymity.

The gun-wielding North Korean man killed the four Chinese citizens and injured another Chinese person at their homes during an apparent robbery, according to the source.

Chinese police and military authorities caught the suspect after a manhunt. The suspect has since been under investigation, the source said.

Chinese authorities have not announced the incident and the country's state-run media organizations also have remained silent.

"The Chinese authorities have ended a consultation with the North Korean side in dealing with the case and decided not to make the case public," the source said.

It is not uncommon for North Korean soldiers or citizens to cross the border into Chinese towns and attempt robberies.

In December 2013, a North Korean defector in his 20s killed an elderly Chinese couple in the Chinese border city of Yanji and stole 20,000 yuan (US$3,210). The North Korean defector was caught by Chinese authorities after fleeing to Beijing.


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