Unidentified men kidnapped two Chinese nationals from Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s Balochistan province, on Wednesday. One Chinese woman escaped, the police said.

“A Chinese couple was kidnapped from the neighbourhood of Jinnah town in Quetta today [Wednesday], the couple were running a Chinese language centre,” local police officer Aitzaz Goraya told AFP. Provincial Police Chief Ahsan Mehboob also confirmed the news.

Goraya said the couple were kidnapped when they left their language centre for lunch. “They were dragged into a vehicle without number plates by three unknown men,” he told AFP. China’s Deputy Chief of Mission in Islamabad Lijian Zhao said the embassy was aware of the incident and was working for their release.

A passer-by was also shot. “I was walking on the road when I saw three men forcing a Chinese woman in a white car... so I rushed to them and asked what they were doing,” Muhammad Zahir, the passer-by who was injured told AFP. “One of them said we are from the crime branch of the police and we are taking them for investigation and I told them that they should not misbehave with people, then the driver came out and shot me in my foot.”

Police and Frontier Corps have launched an investigation into the incident. Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri has asked the police and other investigating agencies to ensure they are found immediately, reported The Hindu.

Chinese nationals working in Pakistan have been threatened before, reported Hindustan Times. In November last year, two Chinese engineers were killed in Pasni district of Balochistan. In September, two other Chinese engineers were killed in a roadside blast in Hub district.

Wednesday’s incident has raised safety concerns for a large number of Chinese nationals who work in projects that are part of the $50-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The 3,000-km-long CPEC is aimed at connecting China and Pakistan through a network of railway tracks, roads, pipelines and optical cable fibres. India has repeatedly expressed concerns over the project as it will pass through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Pakistan has set up a special force of 9,000 soldiers and 6,000 paramilitary personnel to protect the projects, according to Hindustan Times.