Guangzhou security official attacked by knife-wielding hawker

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 March, 2013, 11:07am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 July, 2013, 3:00pm

A Guangzhou official whose job is to oversee street hawkers was attacked by a knife-wielding vendor on a busy street on Sunday - a week after video emerged of a mother being roughly handled by an official, said a report. 

According to the Southern Metropolis Daily on Tuesday, a team of urban management officials, or chengguan, was clearing out hawker activity on Tianhe District's Dongpu Road when one of the officials was attacked by a pineapple seller wielding a 30cm-long fruit knife.

The official, identified as Su Jiaquan, was stabbed seven times and had knife wounds on her head, face, hands and forearms. The attacker, and other hawkers at the scene, fled immediately.

Su was sent by her colleagues to Tianhe District People’s Hospital in critical condition. Doctors said severe facial injuries would leave scars and would affect her ability to chew. She is now in stable condition.

Chengguan, whose job is to regulate street-hawking and clamp down on those without licences, are low-level, paramilitary-like security officials. They operate separately from the police and have been frequently called "government thugs" by street vendors and others.

Witnesses told reporters that the hawker-control team had been shouting at street vendors and pressing them to leave. Some of the hawkers had refused.

Su’s partner, Zhong Yongde, said passersby did not offer to help them in anyway and expressed disappointment that this could happen in such a bustling area.

Police said they are investigating the case. Guangzhou urban management and law enforcement secretary Wei Weihan pointed out that the soceity did not "understand" the dangers officials faced.

Tensions between chengguan and hawkers rose earlier this month after photographs surfaced of a Guangzhou street vendor being jostled and treated roughly by chengguan officials in front of her young daughter.

The incident triggered an outcry across Chinese social media, with many criticising the chengguan officials for using excessive violence in restraining the woman in front of her child.