CARACAS, Venezuela - The killing of a Venezuelan soap opera actor who was stabbed to death when he came upon a robbery has reignited concerns about rampant violent crime in the South American country.

More than 200 people attended a funeral for 51-year-old Yanis Chimaras on Wednesday, a day after he was killed in a Caracas suburb, while Venezuelan newspapers carried photographs of grieving relatives on their front pages.

The capital of Caracas is considered one of the most violent cities in Latin America, and polls consistently show crime is a leading concern for Venezuelans. Dozens of people are often killed in a single weekend. The Justice Ministry reported 9,402 homicides nationwide in 2005 but has yet to reveal figures for 2006.

Chimaras, a supporter of President Hugo Chavez, was the leader of a pro-government actors guild and had appeared in more than two dozen soap operas during his 27-year career.

He was killed early Tuesday in the Caracas suburb of Guatire when he arrived in a car to pick up his daughter's friend, police said. Chimaras, who was with his daughter and brother, honked the horn repeatedly for the girl to come out.

At the time, robbers were inside the house holding up the girl's family. They thieves came outside, forced Chimaras out of his vehicle at gunpoint and stabbed him three times, police said. He suffered a punctured lung and bled to death.

Police said they have several suspects.

Former presidential candidate and comedian Benjamin Rausseo, who attended the wake, said the killing is a clear sign that Chavez's government needs to do more to fight crime.

"How many Yanis Chimaras need to die for this government to understand, instead of being concerned about conquering the world (and) picking fights ... that here in Venezuela they are killing us?" Rausseo asked.