Suspect detained in deadly purse-snatching of Chinese art student in Rome

Updated 2017-06-02 10:38:54 Xinhua

Italian police have detained a suspect in the purse-snatching of a Chinese art student who died while chasing her assailants in Rome last year, local media reported Thursday.

Serif Seferovic, aged 20, is also a suspect in a May 10 arson attack in Rome in which sisters Elisabeth, Francesca and Angelica Halilovic were burned to death. Two of the victims were children under ten years old.

Seferovic was arrested in the northern city of Turin, where he was staying with relatives. He was turned in by his girlfriend, Italian news agency Ansa reported.

On Dec. 9 last year, Italian police found the body of 20-year-old Zhang Yao in Rome's outlying Tor Sapienza district, where she had gone missing after going to the Immigration Office. Her remains showed injuries consistent with a violent impact.

The Chinese student's flatmate, who declined to give her name, told investigators that Zhang called her soon after leaving the Immigration Office, saying she was in pursuit of three men, one of whom had snatched her bag.

She chased them onto an access road to the nearby railway and then on to the rail-bed, where she was allegedly struck by a train.

Zhang moved from China to Rome in March 2016 to study at the Fine Arts Academy in the Italian capital's historic central district.

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