A second explosive device has gone off in Shenzhen in less than a week, severely injuring a 13-year-old boy and heightening fears about the city's deteriorating public security situation.
Lu Yulong suffered multiple injuries to his face and arms when the device, which appeared to be a homemade bomb, exploded on a vacant plot of land in the Baoan district at about 8pm on Sunday.
The blast came four days after two boys were killed and another injured in Futian district when an apparent hand grenade exploded.
Shenzhen police said they were still investigating the latest case but believed it was not a 'deliberate act'. A police investigator told the Southern Metropolis News it was caused by a 'self-made object similar to a firecracker'. But it was not fireworks, he added.
The injured boy, who lives near the vacant site, told his parents he saw an unknown object on the ground and it exploded when he tried to move it, Southern Metropolis News reported.
A witness, surnamed Zhao, said Yulong was playing with two other boys when the explosion happened. 'I heard a huge blast and saw the boy lying on the ground and covered in blood. His right leg was badly wounded, leaving tissue and bone exposed,' she said.
Local residents said they were scared by the latest blast. 'Security in the Baoan district has never been good. Lunar New Year is coming and it is traditionally a high season for all sorts of crimes,' one shopkeeper said.
Last Wednesday, two boys, aged five and eight, were killed and a nine-year-old was injured when an unidentified object exploded near their home in Shazui - the area in Futian where hundreds of prostitutes and their clients were publicly paraded by police a month ago as part of a crackdown on vice.
Futian deputy police director Li Jun immediately denied the explosion was a deliberate act and said it was caused by an 'unknown object'.
But the father of the injured boy, Lin Shuxin, told Southern Metropolis News his son had told police the object looked like a hand grenade. This matched the descriptions provided by several other witnesses.
A doctor treating the injured child told media he found what appeared to be bomb fragments in the boy's body.
Shenzhen police have been tightlipped about the two incidents and refused to link them. But many residents believe the blasts are a show of defiance by local triads against the recent police crackdown. The latest crackdown was launched in an attempt to lower the city's soaring crime rate, a major source of public grievances.
In 2003, triads tried to bomb a police patrol in Baoan following a similar crackdown.