Chinese officials on Wednesday confirmed reports that three Chinese citizens in a village close to the North Korean border were killed in an attack last week. While initial reports suggested the involvement of Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) army officials, Chinese authorities investigating the case have not yet verified the claims.

The three people -- a 55-year-old man surnamed Zhao, his 26-year-old daughter and another 67-year-old man named Sun -- were slain in Shiren village in the Jilin province. On Tuesday, the state-run South Korean network KBS had said that three DPRK soldiers had appeared in the Shiren village last Friday and had killed three Chinese villagers, Yonhap reported. However, the Chinese foreign ministry has not yet confirmed the identity of the killers or their nationality, Yonhap added.

The weapon used to kill the villagers also remains unknown. If the KBS report is found to be accurate, this will be the third attack in the cities that lie on the border to DPRK,, a local website reported.

In December, four Chinese citizens were killed by a North Korean army deserter during a robbery in the city of Helong in southeastern Jilin province. The incident had prompted Beijing to lodge a diplomatic protest with North Korea and increase the border security. China and North Korea have a bilateral judicial assistance treaty that would help the two countries to look into the latest incident together.

If the suspects of the latest incident are found and confirmed by DPRK, they will not be tried in China as the treaty does not have clauses regarding extradition, Hong Daode, a criminal law professor from China University of Political Science and Law, said, according to China Internet Information Center.