About 200 people on Sunday paid tribute to Zhang Yao, the student struck by a train while in pursuit of muggers who stole her purse containing a newly-issued residency permit in Italy.
The attack sparked anger from the 20,000-strong Chinese community in Rome.
“It is absurd that a person can be attacked in broad daylight, near a police station. How is this possible?” said Lucia King, a spokeswoman for the community, according to The Local Italy.
On December 5, Yao, 20, who was studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, had just left the police complex in Tor Sapienza on the city’s outskirts when three young men made off with her bag, the Associated Press reported.
— YOMYOMF (@yomyomf) December 12, 2016
Yao’s friends said she had called them with her cellphone to explain what happened and asked them for help while she attempted to retrieve her stolen property.
Surveillance footage showed that Yao appeared dazed near the train tracks at the local station before she was hit by a train as she spoke on the phone.
Her body was discovered on December 9 in a ditch, where it reportedly landed after she was struck. The crew at the train station was not aware of the incident at the time.
According to Italian media, the cops are searching for three young men who can be seen on the surveillance tapes.
The victim’s father, identified as Zhang Gowen, told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, that his daughter went missing after the handbag theft.
“I thought they kidnapped her. I thought that they would have asked me for a ransom,” he said. “Never would I have imagined going to the morgue to meet her.”
Nearly 200 mourners honored Yao by laying white roses and daisies outside of the train station.
This is not the first case of foreigners being mugged and led to their death. In July, a 19-year-old American student, who had just arrived in Rome, was found dead in the Tiber River after chasing down a thief who stole his wallet.