Eleven killed in China as car ploughs into square, driver attacks people

People seeking for help as wounded and dead bodies lie in the square after a man drove a vehicle into a crowded pedestrian square.
People seeking for help as wounded and dead bodies lie in the square after a man drove a vehicle into a crowded pedestrian square. PHOTO: APPLE DAILY

BEIJING (REUTERS, NYTIMES) - Eleven people were killed and 44 injured after a car ploughed into a crowded square in south-central China and the driver attacked people with a knife and spade seeking “revenge” on society for previous criminal convictions, the government said on Thursday (Sept 13).

The car drove onto the square in Mishui town, part of Hengyang city in Hunan province, in the early evening on Wednesday, the Hengyang government said in a statement.

The driver, surnamed Yang but whose full name the government did not provide, drove the car alone onto the square, then attacked people using a spade and a knife, the statement added.

Yang has a long criminal record with previous convictions for selling drugs, theft and attacking people, which caused him to harbour a desire for “revenge on society”, the government said.

Yang has been detained, it said, without giving other details.

Videos of the incident were posted to social media and widely shared, depicting scenes of carnage and chaos in the square, which was crowded for an event.

Video images carried on state media showed several bodies on the ground as bystanders tended to some of them.

The government originally said three people died, but raised the death toll in subsequent statements.

There was no indication that the incident was terror-related.

In February, 18 people were injured when a minivan caught fire and mounted the pavement in a busy part of central Shanghai and ploughed into pedestrians.

Investigations showed the fire was caused by a driver who was smoking a cigarette inside the vehicle while illegally transporting highly flammable substances.

The government is generally nervous about such incidents after a car ploughed through pedestrians in the northern part of Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 2013, killing the three people in the car and two bystanders.

Beijing blamed that on separatists from China’s restive far western region of Xinjiang.