An opera singer says she “almost suffocated” while a burglar held down her head and covered it with a doona as two others ransacked her Melbourne home.
Xiaoping, an opera singer, was restrained and then locked in her Cairnlea bedroom in September 2016, while three bandits stole items including a $200,000 Rolex watch, diamonds, bank cards and a passport.
The balaclava-clad men dressed in black – two Caucasian and one of African appearance – entered through an unlocked door before fleeing in a white van with four suitcases full of stolen goods, according to police.
Xiaoping, now 66, said one of the intruders held her hands behind her back and held her head to the couch so she couldn’t see.
“I almost suffocated,” she told reporters through an interpreter on Wednesday.
“I felt like I was dying because I was held … on the couch and (with) two hands behind my back and the doona (was) put on my head almost make (sic) me suffocate.”
She was allowed to sit in a chair after crying out in pain but the burglars then locked her in a bedroom, securing the door with a rope leading to another part of the house.
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Xiaoping managed to escape through a window but the burglars spotted her and brought her back and locked her inside.
“I’m still very traumatised by this incident. I always check all the doors … very carefully at night time,” the woman said.
She added many of the items stolen were not hers but belonged to the Beijing opera, as Xiaoping was previously the organisation’s deputy commissioner.
Senior Constable Elizabeth Anderson labelled the burglary “callous” and “very violating for the victim”.
She added police remained in the dark about a motive.
“We’ve exhausted a number of avenues in regards to this investigation and now we are appealing to the community for whatever they can give us,” Const Anderson said.