200 mourners commemorated 20-year-old Zhang Yao

The Chinese community in Rome held a memorial for a student who was hit by a train whilst pursuing her muggers.

20-year-old Chinese student Zhang Yao was attending Rome’s Academy of Fine Arts.

On 5 December, Zhang was leaving a police complex after just renewing her residency permit when three young men snatched her bag. Zhang called her phones to report the incident whilst pleading for help as she was trying to regain her possesions.

Footage from the city’s surveillance cameras showed Zhang near the tracks of a local train station. A train is seen whizzing by before another strikes her as she is speaking on the phone.

Zhang’s body was found on 9 December in a ditch where it landed after being struck by the train.

The train crew was unaware they had struck anyone.

Rome police have since been in search of the trio who mugged the arts student. The victim’s father, Zhang Gowen said that he thought his daughter had disappeared after the incident, suspecting she had been kidnapped, “I thought they kidnapped her. I thought that they would have asked me for a ransom. Never would I have imagined going to the morgue to meet her.”

200 mourners attended Zhang’s memorial, laying daisies and roses by the train station. Zhang’s father was permitted to lay flowers on the track where his daughter was hit.

“Tell me how she died”, her father cried out.

Chinese female students voiced their fears and concerns for going around Rome alone.