Jamaican prime minister's brother beaten, stabbed and robbed

KINGSTON Thu May 2, 2013 2:50pm EDT

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KINGSTON (Reuters) - The elder brother of Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller was held up, beaten and stabbed at his business early on Thursday, police said.

Vincent Simpson, 71, is the managing director of Simpson's Dollar Saver clothing and dry goods store in the heart of volatile downtown Kingston. He was attacked shortly after he turned up to open the store around 4 a.m., police said.

"He was pounced upon by men, beaten, stabbed and he suffered facial wounds," a policeman who is part of the investigating team told Reuters.

"We took him to hospital, but he should be OK," added the policeman who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the incident.

Police said the robbers took J$30,000 (US$310), a television set, a pistol and other items from Simpson. Simpson remained in a hospital.

No suspects have been identified, police said.

There was no immediate reaction from the prime minister, who was said to be at her office when Reuters tried to reach her.

Robberies and violent crime are a serious problem in Jamaica, especially in impoverished parts of Kingston. The Caribbean island of 2.7 million people has the fourth-highest murder rate in the world, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and logged 1,087 murders last year.

(Editing by Jane Sutton and Cynthia Osterman)

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