A man undergoing treatment for drug addiction and substance abuse reads a Koran at a rehabilitation centre of the Drug Enforcement Administration in Amman April 2, 2013. Image Credit; REUTERS

A Chinese national, identified as Lee Ping, was taken into police custody in Pakistan-administered Kashmir on Saturday 18 May, after being attacked for allegedly disrespecting the Koran.

Ping was part of a Chinese consortium building a hydroelectric project and was accused by co-workers of throwing the Islamic religion's holy book to the ground.

"We have taken Ping into protective custody after protests erupted in the company when Pakistani labourers saw him throwing the belongings of a Pakistani worker including the Koran," Sardar Gulfraz, a senior police official, told AFP.

The incident took place at noon on Friday, when Ping reportedly got into a dispute with a local doctor.

"Doctor Sajid had a dispute with the company management about the relocation of his room. He refused to vacate the room and Ping threw out all his belongings in anger," a local police official explained.

"Local labourers saw Ping throwing out luggage including the Koran and they started protesting. Later, people from outside the company also joined the rally and around 1,000 protesters attacked the offices," he added.

The attackers also broke company vehicles and vandalised buildings, forcing the police to call for reinforcements and move Ping to a secure location. Authorities have confirmed an investigation has been ordered into the matter and to see whether Ping did, in fact, disrespect the Koran.

Nearly 97% of the country's population practise Islam and this is fiercely defended. In March, a mob attacked and burnt houses in Lahore's Badami Bagh neighbourhood, as retribution for "an act of blasphemy" allegedly committed by a Christian.