SHANGHAI (AFP) - A car driven by a man possibly suffering from mental illness rammed into a guardrail outside the US consulate in Shanghai late on Thursday, injuring a Chinese sentry, the police said.
The driver, 35-year-old Liu Daojie from Sanming city in China’s south-eastern Fujian province, has been taken into police custody, official news agency Xinhua said, citing a Shanghai police statement.
Liu’s black Toyota sedan veered off the road and crashed into the guardrail outside the consulate at 9:43 p.m. and then stopped, it said.
One person – a member of the paramilitary People’s Armed Police which guard diplomatic missions in China among other duties – was slightly injured, the police said. Shanghai media said he was injured on the head, face and chest.
A spokesman for the US consulate confirmed an “incident", but said the matter was still under investigation.“All mission personnel at the consulate general have been accounted for and the consulate general is expected to be open for business as usual today, the 13th,” he told AFP.
“A black car intended to rush into US General Consulate in Shanghai at 10pm Thursday. The male driver has been controlled", a tweet from the state-run People’s Daily newspaper said.
Images posted on social media showed the car, which appeared to have mounted the pavement and crashed into a barricade next to a sentry box at the US consulate in the city’s central Xuhui district.
Liu, who runs his own company, told the police he felt someone wanted to kill him. The authorities had initially ruled out alcohol or drugs as the possible cause, adding the man appeared to be “confused”.“Today I drove from Hangzhou to Shanghai, and saw this place guarded by armed police. So I drove up,” the police statement quoted him as saying, adding that his “thoughts were muddled and words incoherent”.Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang province, which borders Shanghai.It was unclear whether Liu was aware the compound in the city’s downtown houses some functions of the US government in Shanghai.
Liu’s wife said her husband had believed someone was trying to kill him for the past month and had refused to go out, according to the police statement. He had previously sought medical help.Protestors demonstrated outside the US consulate in Shanghai in 1999 after Nato warplanes accidentally bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.