by Charles Gladden
LADYVILLE, Belize District, Wed. Nov. 15, 2023
On Tuesday, November 14, Canhua Zhen, 37, a nationalized Belizean originally from China, was executed in the Vista Del Mar area of Ladyville, Belize District, while reportedly hunting for crabs in the area.
According to initial police reports, Zhen, along with three of his companions – Elmer Gomez, 18, a chef; Alex Rivera, 37, a Honduran laborer; and Zhichao Tan, 37, a businessman (all from the Ladyville area) – went fishing at the seaside off Ocean Jack Drive around 5:30 p.m. on the day that the incident occurred. While the group was reportedly having a conversation around a bonfire about an hour later, approximately 12 gunshots were heard coming from some nearby mangroves.
The group quickly dispersed from the location, leaving Zhen behind. He was severely wounded by the shots and reportedly died at the scene.
When police arrived at the scene close to an hour later, they saw Zhen’s motionless body with apparent gunshot wounds, on the ground approximately 15 feet from the seaside.
When Amandala reached out to the family of the Zhen, who was affectionately known as “John,” and who had lived in Benque Viejo Del Carmen Town, Cayo District before moving to Belize City, they indicated that police hadn’t disclosed much information to them besides the initial information, which is now public knowledge, as an investigation is still ongoing.
Zhen’s common-law wife (name withheld) said that he had told her on the day he was killed that he would go fishing with some friends, but did not share any additional details with her.
She mentioned to Amandala that she last saw him on Monday, the day before his death, when he visited her and their children at their home in Benque Viejo.
“During the week, he (had) called me and told me that he would be coming, but he never said when or how, and (I was happy) when I saw that he came on Saturday night. We were spending time with our daughters and the next day he was going to go back, but I told him to stay with us. He stayed and didn’t go until Monday after taking our daughter to school,” she emotionally recounted.
She described Zhen as a great man to her and their children.
“It’s so hard, because he used to always like to cook for me and his daughters when we are at home together. I used to always help him with his job, but now I feel like I’m going to miss him a lot, because I always used to call and check up on him to see if he’s okay,” she said.
There was no indication whether Zhen had any ongoing or previous conflicts with anyone. Zhen’s body was transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 10:17 p.m.
Zhen had recently relocated to Belize City to find employment. He leaves behind his common-law wife of over a decade with whom he shared two daughters.