Update on bombing and bomber

Trip Start Jan 30, 2007
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Trip End Dec 31, 2011


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Flag of China  , Yunnan,
Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Salvador's owner Colin Flahive was just outside of the restaurant
when the bomb detonated on Christmas Eve. Flahive has summarized what
he and co-owner Kris Ariel (Salvador's other two owners were out of
the country when the explosion occurred) experienced on December 24.
GoKunming has been given permission to publish their account,
reprinted below:

At about 10:30 in the morning on December 24th, I was sitting
downstairs at our internet port. A friend came in, and she was
looking for Christmas gifts, so I suggested that she go with him to
see all of the stuff Kris and I had bought in Thailand to sell in our
new shop. We had just begun walking down the street when we heard a
large explosion. Looking back to the restaurant, we could see people
running out of Salvador's.

I ran in as quickly as I could and went straight to the gas line to
turn it off. I had assumed that our gas line had exploded. It was
then that I saw the body of the individual on the ground near the
table closest to the bathroom.

The scene was more gruesome than I wish to detail. My initial feeling
was that it was one of our workers. That is what continues to haunt
me the most - the feeling that we had caused the death of one of our
workers who are all so close to us. Luckily, such was not the case. A
couple of seconds later, all of our girls came running out of the
kitchen. The explosion had not been very intense there.

Three Korean customers and one Chinese customer were seated very
close to the explosion. All of them, all of our staff, and all of the
other customers upstairs were miraculously uninjured. From there I
made my way to the electric box to cut off the electricity which is
when I noticed many 100 RMB bills scattered all over the place. The
money did not belong to any of our staff or customers.

Everyone made it outside safe other than the one who was the victim
of his own malicious attempt. Kris made it from home to the
restaurant within minutes. Outside we all comforted each other while
the ambulance staff went inside. They dragged out what they could of
the body and loaded it into the ambulance. They then made Kris
accompany the ambulance to the hospital because they were under the
impression that the man was one of our staff.

Somehow, the man was still alive when they got to the hospital, and
he was interrogated before eventually expiring. Kris unfortunately
had to bear witness to all of this. In fact, they even confiscated
his phone to use as an audio recorder for the interrogation.

At a press conference on Saturday, the police tied the bomber of
Salvador's to the bomber of the public buses back in July. There was
DNA evidence that links both crimes, and bomb materials were found at
the home of the suspect that are the same as the bombs used on the
busses and our cafe. The suspect had served several years in prison
for an assault-related crime.

For most expats who have lived in China for some time, it's very easy
to be skeptical of the media, and this report seems so convenient to
solve two crimes in one shot. But from our experiences with this
investigation we both feel very confident in Saturday's report. In
addition, we thought you'd all like to know that the police have
treated us quite well and have been extremely professional with the
handling of the investigation.

It was also revealed that the bomb was placed in the bathroom and
appears to have exploded prematurely. The night of the 24th is
perhaps the busiest night of the year for cafes in the neighborhood,
and I can only assume that the bomber had higher aspirations than the
outcome. We are lucky in so many ways, it's really quite difficult to
talk about.

For now, our greatest concern is the mental and physical health of
our workers. We have been spending time together discussing the event
and making sure that everything gets talked through. Everyone is in
much better spirits now, and we hope to move on. The future of our
business is at present uncertain, but you have not heard the last of
Salvador's.

Thank you for all of your kind words and support.

Love and Peace,
Colin and Kris
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