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Suspect in killing of N.Korean in Russia's Far East arrested

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VLADIVOSTOK, January 29 (RIA Novosti) - A suspect in the case of a North Korean national beaten to death in a Russian Far Eastern city has been arrested, an aide to the regional prosecutor said Monday.

The man's body was found in a hostel housing North Korean construction workers in the Pacific port of Vladivostok, near the North Korean border, Friday. Forensic experts said the man died of a brain injury.

"A forensic psychiatric expert examination has been ordered for the suspect in the case, to determine whether he is sane," Irina Nomokonova said, adding that the suspect was a Russian citizen.

Witnesses said Friday the victim had returned to the hostel with bruises on his face, saying he had fallen accidentally. But several hours later, his North Korean colleagues found him dead.

Two other people from the Communist nation were battered to death in Vladivostok in December in an attack investigators said was carried out by a group of teenagers.

Local police say attacks on foreigners have become more frequent in the Primorye Territory, which borders on China and North Korea and is home to thousands of migrant workers from those countries.

In 2006, 247 attacks were made on people of foreign appearance in the region, compared to 181 the previous year. The statistics reflect a rise in xenophobic sentiment in the country as a whole.

Bloody interethnic clashes in northwest Russia last fall prompted authorities to impose restrictions on the number of foreign workers, effective as of this year.

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