CRIME

Three knifemen attack Xinjiang chess hall, two are killed

Two assailants killed, with the third wounded and captured as chess players help armed forces take situation under control

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 June, 2014, 10:57am
UPDATED : Monday, 16 June, 2014, 3:06pm

Three knife-wielding attackers barged into a crowded chess hall in the western Xinjiang region on Sunday in a clash that drew security forces, state media has reported.

Four people were injured in a struggle with the assailants, but their lives were not in danger, CCTV reported on Monday. Two of the attackers died from serious injuries while the third was wounded and arrested.

A report on the Xinjiang government website said civilians in the chess room in Hotan city sounded an alarm and fought back against the assailants in the Sunday evening incident.

Armed police arrived in just over a minute and overpowered the attackers with the help of the chess players, CCTV said.

The motive for the attack was not immediately clear.

Chess halls on the mainland are thronged by customers who can spend hours drinking tea and playing cards, chess or other games.

The latest violence came amid a crackdown in the restive Xinjiang region following a string of high-profile attacks on civilians. The attacks have been blamed on extremists from the region’s Uygur minority seeking to overthrow Chinese rule.

Authorities have been on edge since a suicide bombing last month killed 39 people at a vegetable market in the capital of Urumqi. Xinjiang police have arrested or tried dozens of suspects in recent weeks for spreading extremist propaganda, harbouring banned weapons and other crimes.