updated 7/31/2007 6:56:26 PM ET 2007-07-31T22:56:26

Gunmen robbed a Chinese citizen of $1 million on Tuesday during a brazen holdup inside an airport in the Paraguayan capital.

The heist in an airport boarding area caught police by surprise, and five assailants got away with the booty, police officer Julian Sanabria told reporters.

“With automatic weapons in hand, they went up to the Chinese passenger and took away the case with a million dollars,” Sanabria said. “We police were all surprised, and also we could not fire because there were 150 passengers waiting in the boarding area at that moment.”

The victim of the robbery, identified by police as Don Jon Kin, owns a currency exchange business at the airport and is a resident of Paraguay.

Police said he was transporting the money to Montevideo, Uruguay, to make a bank deposit in an apparently legal transaction. Large amounts of cash must be declared when entering another country, but in this case the victim never got that far.

In their haste, the assailants did not take another bag of dollars that was impounded by investigators. Authorities did not disclose how much was in that bag.

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