Nine dead as vehicle ploughs into square in southern China

Nine dead as vehicle ploughs into square in southern China

Nine dead as vehicle ploughs into square in southern China

The red vehicle drove onto Binjiang square in Mishui town, part of Hengyang city in Hunan province, at approximately 11.40 BST (7.40pm local time), the Hengyang government said in a statement.

The incident on Wednesday evening injured another 44 people, according to officials from Hengdong city in central Hunan province.

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

People's Daily, the official newspaper of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, said the suspect was a 54-year-old local man, but it did not provide his full name.

He had previously served time in prison for arson, some drug-related offences and assault. The police said he has a criminal record and has been jailed several times.

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The Hengdong County government confirmed in a statement that at least 9 people were killed and 46 others were injured. No other motive has been offered.

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 grievances against society.

Occasionally, the attacks are attributed to militant separatists, though such incidents have become less common in recent years amid a stifling security crackdown.

In 2013, an SUV ploughed through a crowd in front of Beijing's Forbidden City before crashing and catching fire, killing five, including the vehicle's three occupants.

Three attackers also died in the incident, which Beijing blamed on separatists from the restive western region of Xinjiang. Islamist extremists claimed responsibility for both attacks.

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