Gardaí are trying to establish if an attack on a family in their home, during which children were threatened with hammers and locked into a cupboard, is the latest in a series of raids targeting foreign business owners.
In the latest incident, the Wan family were attacked at their home at Belfry Gardens, Dundalk, where they run the Jade Garden Chinese restaurant.
At about 7.30pm on Sunday, three men, at least two armed with hammers, forced their way in to the property when the front door was answered.
They locked the Wan’s two children, aged 12 and 16 years, into a cupboard and tied up a 10-year-old believed to be a neighbour’s child.
After threatening the family, they escaped in a white Berlingo van with about €3,000. The 16-year-old child managed to get free and raised the alarm.
The raid follows a similar attack last Sunday on another Chinese family who run a restaurant. The Lins were terrorised in their home in Killycard near Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, by gang members carrying a knife and screwdriver who burst into their home after calling to the front door.
The gang trapped the children in one room before 12-year-old Jasmine Lin managed to lock herself into a bedroom and called gardaí.
Just three days earlier three robberies unfolded in the same region.
In one case the home of another Chinese family was broken into in Ballybay, Co Monaghan. And in separate attacks in Castleblayney and Killycard, where the Lins were targeted, two houses owned by Lithuanians were robbed.
In those attacks none of the families were home at the time.
However, gardaí are trying to establish if all of the attacks were carried out by the same gang who selected their victims apparently believing they held cash in their homes from the businesses they were engaged in.