Park bomber left suicide note

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 May, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 May, 1997, 12:00am

Authorities claim a suicidal migrant worker was to blame for detonating a bomb near a heavily guarded compound housing China's leaders.

Police yesterday said a suicide bomber triggered the Tuesday evening blast in a secluded corner of Beijing's Zhongshan Park, killing himself in the process.

The man had left a suicide note, said Liu Wei, assistant spokesman for Beijing Public Security Bureau, but declined to give details of the contents.

No other casualties were reported in the bombing, the second such incident reported in the capital in the past 10 weeks. A witness said the bomber, identified only as a migrant from Hunan, 'picked a remote place and waited until there were few people around' before detonating the bomb as passers-by headed home.

A park attendant said: 'There was one large bang, like fireworks, and everyone ran.' The blast occurred in the city's most tightly secured district, near the official residences of members of the Politburo and the Great Hall of the People.

Authorities were at a loss to explain how the bomber escaped detection by scores of routine police patrols in the area, but said the incident was under further investigation.

All traces of the blast had been removed before the park reopened at 6 am yesterday.

Police restricted disclosure of the incident to a terse, single-paragraph notice in the Beijing Daily.

Unwary visitors to the park, in the western corner of Beijing's Forbidden City, expressed astonishment when told of the previous evening's incident.

'What are you talking about?' asked one woman.

The explosion follows a March 7 incident in which a bomb was detonated aboard a rush-hour bus crowded with shoppers, injuring at least eight people.

Police have yet to make an arrest in the bus bombing, despite a city-wide hunt for suspects.