Homemade bomb explodes in McDonald's restaurant

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 June, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 June, 2003, 12:00am

A bomb exploded in a McDonald's restaurant in the centre of Xian at the weekend and another fast food restaurant in the city received a threatening phone call yesterday, police said.

Nobody was killed or injured in the blast in Shaanxi province.

Investigators have classified the case as sabotage, and determined that the bomb was homemade, said a spokesman for the city's police, surnamed Jia.

He said no suspect had been identified and there had been no arrest over the explosion which happened at 3.50pm on Sunday in a toilet of the Zhonggulou restaurant, one of McDonald's two branches in Xian.

The Zhonggulou branch has only been open for five months.

The other McDonald's outlet in the city, in the Kaiyuan district, received an anonymous call threatening the safety of customers a day earlier, according to the China News Service. It was a hoax.

The Kaiyuan branch, which was the first McDonald's restaurant in west China, was hit by a bomb in December 2001 which killed two and injured 27, only four months after it opened.

The case, which was reported by state media at the time as a suicide bombing, is still under investigation, said Mr Jia, adding that no substantial progress had been made. 'We haven't found any connection between the two cases so far,' he said.

A KFC outlet in Xian also received an anonymous call yesterday morning, claiming there was a bomb inside the restaurant, said the agency. It was another hoax.

The telephone threats closed both restaurants for a few hours, the agency said.

The bomb-hit Zhonggulou restaurant reopened at 7pm on Sunday, about four hours after the explosion, said Marina Leung Lai-shan, corporate relations director of McDonald's China headquarters in Hong Kong.

'We are doing everything we can to ensure security and food safety and look to the government for support,' said Ms Leung.

She said the restaurant reopened only after both local police and the government were satisfied that the site was secure.

Ms Leung said it was unclear whether the bomber had been unhappy with a recent increase in prices.

Xian mayor Sun Yunqing has urged the police to solve the cases as soon as possible, according to Xinhua.