Chinese student killed by train while pursuing muggers

Zhang Yao

 ROME -- The body of the missing 21-year-old Chinese Fine Art student from Hohhot, Zhang Yao, was found Friday at Tor Sapienza in the capital, police said. Zhang Yao was the daughter of a businessman from Hohhot, the inner-Mongolian city in North China who had come to Rome to study at the Academy of Fine Art at the heart of the Eternal City. The arts student disappeared Monday and was subsequently found dead Friday in via Sansoni, Tor Sapienza. Her body was found in a bush next to the railway line that runs next to the via Salvati traveller camp.

 This place where her body was found is about 800 metres from the via Patini Immigration Office where Yao had gone Monday to pick up her study permit. Initial investigations and latest CCTV footage suggest the student's body was hit by a moving train when trying to run after the thieves who had stolen her bag.

 Police have scoured the footage from various shops’ CCTV cameras nearer the Tor Cervara zone, scattered with traveller camps. In the images, police made out the student along with three other blurry figures in movement. The quality is too bad for them to be identified.

 The last person to have had contact with Yao was Zou Xiao, her friend with whom she shared an apartment in the Don Bosco zone. Yao had told her friend that “My bag has been stolen,” and "help I am being attacked," then there is a rustling, and a noise that sounds as if someone may be grabbing her phone, then silence, Il Messaggero reports.

 Police are still talking to Zhang Yao’s friends who say she was carrying a study grant of 1,000 euros with her at the Immigration Office, which may not have passed unobserved. Her friends were the ones to initially report her disappearance and to spread the alarm through networks of Chinese students in Rome.