Local police have detained at least seven suspects in the attack of more than 10 middle-school students in Shantou, Guangdong province, on Sunday.
There is widespread speculation among local residents and internet users that the incident is linked to a local tycoon's family, which the police has denied.
'More than 10 club- and knife-wielding thugs attacked me and two of my classmates outside a local cinema when we were about to watch a movie [for school] around 7am on Sunday,' Zheng Benshuo , a 14-year-old student who suffered injuries to his head and back, told the South China Morning Post by phone yesterday from a local hospital where he was receiving treatment.
Neither he nor his father has any idea who would want to hurt him and the other children.
'I'm extremely angry that my son was attacked by strangers and seriously injured,' Zheng's father said. 'I strongly urge the government to look into the case, give me an answer and hold the perpetrators accountable.'
Villagers and internet users suspect a local businessman, whose grandson was allegedly caught by villagers for molesting a young girl, had instigated the attack.
They suspect the thugs are linked to the businessman.
But Shantou's public security bureau yesterday said the allegation against the tycoon's family was unfounded. It said his grandson, whose age was not publicised, did not rape a girl, and denied that anyone was beaten to death.
Police acknowledged that a number of unidentified young men attacked more than 10 students on Sunday morning, leaving some students injured.
They also said that four young men were detained on Saturday morning at a neighbourhood committee office on suspicion of molesting young women on Thursday.