KABUL: Three Chinese citizens have been shot dead in their apartment in the Afghan capital while one of two others who were missing has been found alive, officials said on Saturday.
Police said that the murder victims, two women and a man, were shot late on Thursday along with their Afghan guard but their deaths were only reported by a neighbour on Friday.
"Initial investigations show that they were perhaps prostitutes killed by a gun with a silencer," Mohammad Zahir, head of the criminal investigation department told AFP.
"Two Chinese men are missing; we have launched an investigation to find them."
The Chinese embassy in Kabul later said one of the two missing men had been found alive and transferred to a safe place, according to state news agency Xinhua.
It said that the five were all self-employed business people and the two women were killed accidentally when they stopped at the apartment while criminals were inside, the agency reported.
Earlier the embassy confirmed the incident and asked the government to ensure the safety and security of its citizens and institutions in Afghanistan.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack. There are hundreds of Chinese working on different projects in Afghanistan.
China, which shares a 76-kilometre border with Afghanistan's far northeast, has secured major oil and copper mining concessions in Afghanistan, which is believed to have more than $1 trillion worth of minerals.