Eleven people have been killed, and 44 injured after a driver crashed a car into a crowd at a public square in central Chinaand attacked people with a knife and shovel.
A red SUV drove into a square in Hengyang city in Hunan province on Wednesday evening and the driver began to hack at pedestrians with a knife and spade, the Hengyang government said in a statement on its microblog on Thursday.
“[The suspect] has been sentenced many times for drug trafficking, theft, and other crimes, creating a desire for revenge on society,” the statement said.
Previous statements said police had been sent immediately to the site of the attack and restrained the suspect, who has now been detained. One video posted on Twitter showed people streaming out of the square. Other video posted by Chinese state media showed several bodies on the ground.
Beijing Youth Daily, a publication of the ruling Communist party’s youth league, said on its official microblog that police were investigating the crash. There was no mention of terrorism or any other motive.
Police identified the suspect as a 54-year-old Chinese man named Yang Zanyun from the same county, who had served several prison sentences for convictions including arson and assault, the newspaper said.
China has experienced violent attacks in public places in recent years, including bombings and arson of buses and buildings, sometimes by people trying to settle personal scores or express grievances against society.
Authorities often do not disclose further details about the incidents or the motives of assailants. In June, a man stabbed and killed two young boys outside a primary school in Shanghai. Local media said pedestrians had caught and restrained the man. In July, a man detonated a low-grade homemade bomb outside the US embassy. Police did not disclose any suspected motive.
Occasionally, the attacks are attributed to militant separatists, though such attacks have become less common in recent years.
In 2013, an SUV plowed through a crowd in front of Beijing’s Forbidden City before crashing and catching fire, killing five, including the vehicle’s three occupants. Police blamed the attack on Muslim separatists from the Uighur ethnic minority group.