Reuters International

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan said on Monday two Chinese citizens abducted last month, and whose killing was claimed by Islamic State, were preachers who had abused the visa system by posing as business people to enter the country.

The interior ministry identified the two as Lee Zing Yang, 24, and Meng Li Si, 26. Previously officials said the two Chinese nationals were Chinese-language teachers.

The two were abducted by armed men pretending to be policemen on May 24 in Quetta, the provincial capital of Baluchistan province. Last week, Islamic State's Amaq news agency said its members had killed the two.

The ministry said the two had entered Pakistan on business visas. But instead of doing business, they had gone to Quetta, where they pretended to learn the Urdu language from a Korean business owner but "were actually engaged in preaching".

It did not say what kind of preachers they were, nor did it say if the Korean was from North Korea or South Korea.

Pakistani officials have not confirmed the two are dead. No bodies have been found but China said information provided by Pakistan suggested the two were probably dead.

The kidnapping was a rare crime against Chinese nationals in Pakistan.

Old ally China has pledged to invest $57 billion in Pakistan in projects linked to its "Belt and Road" infrastructure plan aimed at linking China with the Middle East and Europe.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said in response to the case that there should be a review of the visa process for Chinese nationals entering Pakistan, and for a databank to track Chinese workers in different parts of the country.

Khan ordered the databank to be "shared with all security agencies", his ministry said in a statement.

(Reporting by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Reuters

 Reuters International