THEY CAN RUN but they cannot hide.
This was the warning issued yesterday by Minister of National Security Jack Warner to the killers of Chinese couple Yang Jiang Hua, 59, and Wu Xia Hua, 60, gunned down during a robbery at their Cunupia restaurant last Thursday.
Warner visited with the deceased couple's two children, Yang Hu, 39, and Yang Hui, 37, and assured them that the thieves who shot their parents would be found and brought to justice.
Warner said he assured the victims' children that Chinese businesspersons were not being targeted by criminals in this country.
"We cannot give into the criminals. We simply cannot and must not give into the criminals. They must be held and shall pay the full price and full brunt of the law," he said. "It is only a heartless coward who will take a firearm and shoot innocent people."
On Thursday night thieves entered the couple's business place, Tiger's Chinese Restaurant and Bar at 30 Southern Main Road, Cunupia, and shot the husband and wife. The thieves stole a laptop and a small amount of cash from the register, police said.
The wife was pronounced dead at the Chaguanas Health Centre that night, while the husband died at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex at Mount Hope on Saturday. She was shot in the heart and lower back, while he was shot in the neck and lower back.
Warner said he learned that policemen at the nearby Cunupia Police Station were slow in responding to the crime scene, and he would forward the names of two delinquent police officers to Commissioner of Police Dwayne Gibbs to investigate the allegation.
The National Security Minister said he intended to pay unannounced visits to police stations across the country.
"I shall visit them to see under the conditions which they work. If the conditions are bad, if possible, we shall improve them. If I see delinquency, that shall be dealt with. There is a mechanism which shall be dealt with and that could be used. As any- body else, they must be held accountable. We all have to be held accountable. I have to be accountable. I have to be accountable for the Ministry the Prime Minister gave me," said Warner.
Warner said Prime Minster Kamla Persad-Bissessar contacted him to visit the victims since the Chinese embassy expressed serious concern that they were of the impression that Chinese business persons are being targeted in this country.
Hu told Warner his mother kept a key ring with his (Warner's) photograph in her pocket, and she took it out when the thieves stormed in on Thursday night.
"She liked you," Hu told Warner. The National Security Minister said the gesture spurred him even more to have justice served in the case. "If for no other reason, the fact that she had that picture, because she had faith in the Government and more so in the Ministry of National Security...we owe it to her to find these criminals," he said.
He said he would also be visiting other victims of crime to empathise with them. "It is a whole new paradigm, new era. We are doing things differently. I have come here and I have seen the pain for myself. I went into the kitchen and I saw his tools of his trade, making an honest living. I feel more committed that ever to bring this thing to an end," he said.
Warner appealed to Hu to keep the family business open, and said there would be regular police patrols in the area.
Hu told the Express that he wanted the police to catch the killers. "I want the police to help us find the criminals who did this," he said.
Hu said his parents migrated from China some five years ago, and loved Trinidad and its people. He said, "My father never curse nobody. He never did bad. He loved to help people. Why couldn't they (the thieves) just take the money. Why shoot and take his life?"
An autopsy is expected to be performed on Yang Jiang Hua today at the Forensic Science Centre, St James..