Eleven people were killed and 44 taken to hospital after a man drove an SUV into a crowd in central China before jumping out and attacking victims with a dagger and shovel, local authorities said today.
The Hengyang city government said the suspect in the case had previous convictions for crimes including drug trafficking, theft and assault and, acting alone, had sought to “get revenge on society”.
That appeared to rule out terrorism, although vehicles have previously been used in attacks blamed on militant Muslim separatists from the Uighur ethnic minority group.
Police identified the suspect as 54-year-old Yang Zanyun from Hengyang’s Hengdong county in the largely agricultural province of Hunan.
Last night’s attack happened in a public square where people typically gather to dance in groups or enjoy the cool evening breezes. The SUV jumping the curb before ploughing into the crowd.
China has experienced violent attacks in public places in recent years, including bombings and arson of buses and buildings.
Occasionally, the attacks are attributed to militant separatists, though such incidents have become less common in recent years amid a stifling security crackdown.