A 17-year-old boy is being questioned by police over the death of a young woman at an out-of-control party in Melbourne’s CBD.
Laa Chol, 19, was fatally assaulted at a short-term rental apartment on the 56th floor of the EQ Tower early on Saturday morning amid a dispute involving two groups of partygoers.
The Sunshine North youth was taken into custody on Monday afternoon to be interviewed by the homicide squad, police said.
Commander Stuart Bateson earlier told 3AW the young woman’s death had nothing to do with Sudanese gang violence, as had been suggested by some politicians.
“When we start to make an issue that is bigger than what it is and when we start to racialise and we start to target this specific community, that leads to some unintended consequences,” he said.
“That means a whole community feels vilified. They often feel frightened to go out in public in groups, they’re shouted out.”
Premier Daniel Andrews told ABC radio Ms Chol’s family “deserve fundamentally better than what they’ve been given over these past 12 or 24 hours”.
“I don’t think her family would be getting very much comfort from this sort of discussion,” he said of debates linking the death to gang violence.
The 19-year-old has been remembered by friends on social media as a “beautiful soul” who “didn’t deserve any of this”.
Her cousin Nyawie Dau told News Corp Australia “we need justice for Laa. They need to find whoever did this”.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, who earlier this year said Melburnians were afraid to go out to dinner at night because of African gang violence, pinned the death on a “major law and order problem” with the state Labor government.
“We don’t have these problems with Sudanese gangs in NSW or Queensland,” he told Fairfax Media.