7 Chinese injured in market blast

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 August, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 August, 2006, 12:00am

Seven Chinese nationals were injured in a bomb explosion that ripped through a market in Moscow, the Chinese embassy in the Russian capital said yesterday.

No deaths of Chinese citizens had been reported to the embassy by yesterday morning, according to counsellor Wang Zhen. However, Russian news agencies quoted Moscow police as saying five of the 10 people killed in the explosion at the Cherkizovsky market were Chinese and one was Vietnamese.

'The Russian Foreign Ministry has not informed us about the death of any Chinese. And so far, we have no information on the nationalities of those who died,' Mr Wang said.

Two children were among the casualties, eight of whom died at the scene and two at hospitals, according to Xinhua.

Another 55 were injured when the blast tore through a two-storey market hall at about 10.30am on Monday, flattening 200 square metres of stalls and leaving a 100-square-metre hole in the roof, according to media reports.

The explosion was reportedly triggered by a homemade bomb containing more than 1kg of TNT explosive.

The embassy said on its website that one of the injured Chinese was in a critical condition and another was in a serious condition.

Three suspects, all aged under 25, had been detained, Xinhua quoted Russian news agency Interfax as saying. They reportedly learned how to make bombs from the internet, though one had studied chemistry at university.

Speculation on the motive behind the blast has been rife.

Russian agencies quoted the city's general prosecutor's office as saying the incident could be linked to triad disputes or commercial competition. However, Interfax quoted City Prosecutor Yury Syomin as saying that ethnic hatred was considered a likely factor.

Russian Prosecutor-General Yury Chaika reportedly said authorities were not ruling out the possibility that it was a terrorist attack.