Six wounded in knife rampage at Guangzhou Railway Station

Witnesses describe seeing four armed men go on chopping rampage in Guangzhou in third assault on civilians at train terminals in two months

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 May, 2014, 12:58pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 May, 2014, 12:48pm

At least six people were wounded in a knife attack at Guangzhou Railway Station yesterday, the third assault on civilians at train stations in two months.

Witnesses said four assailants began attacking passengers at random at about 11.30am.

Watch unconfirmed video: Suspected attacker caught by police after Guangzhou train station violence

One was subdued by police and a luggage handler after being shot by an officer. But police said later on social media that only one suspect was involved.

Witnesses also said one of the injured was a middle-aged Westerner, but Guangzhou police denied any foreigner was among the victims.

The police didn’t approach [the attacker] until they shot him twice in his chest

At least four people were taken to the General Hospital of Guangzhou Military Command, local police said. Three were in stable condition after surgery.

The attack comes less than a week after an explosion at a railway station in Urumqi - capital of Xinjiang , the vast western region home to ethnic minority Uygurs - left two attackers and a civilian dead and 79 wounded.

It also follows a March attack at a railway station in the southwestern city of Kunming , in which machete-wielding attackers killed 29 people and wounded 143 in what many in China dubbed the country's "9/11".

Four attackers were shot and killed by police and four more were captured.

Authorities blamed both the Kunming and Urumqi incidents on terrorists from Xinjiang.

President Xi Jinping demanded "decisive action" against terrorist attacks in Xinjiang following the railway station blast.

The train station in Yuexiu district resumed normal operations by 2pm yesterday. Yet the pungent smell of steriliser used to clean the bloody scene lingered for hours.

Hu Zhong , a 70-year-old luggage handler from Henan province, said: "One of the attackers was only 50 metres away from me.

"Everyone was running for their lives, even leaving their luggage behind. I was very scared."

Hu added: "I saw one suspect in a white shirt and a white hat chopping six people on the left-hand side of the station plaza.

"The other three, also in white shirts and holding long knives, were running away from the scene towards the right. The suspect was blocked by two policemen, but the police didn't approach him until they shot him twice in his chest.

"A luggage handler tackled him before the police grabbed him. The luggage handler was even braver than police."

Ni Zhiquan, 43, from Sichuan province, said the attacker began chopping people 100 metres from the station entrance. He saw one woman receive a wound to her neck.

Police in Guangdong have been patrolling with guns since 1994. Since May 1, more than 4,000 police officers and 10,000 auxiliary police officers have been patrolling the streets of Guangzhou.

All 4,000 police carry guns. On top of that, SWAT teams and plainclothes officers patrol popular destinations.

In addition, 397,000 security cameras in Guangzhou have been turned on since May 1.

Other major cities have also stepped up security after the recent attacks.

Shanghai police have been patrolling with guns and in Beijing armed police had joined local police in patrolling railway stations.

Additional reporting by Chris Luo and Keira Lu Huang