Four suspects in the deadly knife attack at the Kunming railway station in March have now been charged with terror offences, state prosecutors said on Monday.
Prosecutors in Yunnan province indicted the four over the attack that left 29 civilians dead and another 143 wounded on March 1, just four days before the Communist Party’s annual parliamentary sessions.
Five attackers were shot by police at the scene, and four of them died while the other was captured alive. Another three suspects were allegedly captured in at their temporary camp in Honghe Hani before they could help carry out the attack, state media said.
The Kunming Municipal People’s Procuratorate recently filed the charges against the four surviving attackers to the Kunming Municipal Intermediate Court, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate said on its website on Monday.
Three suspects were charged with organising and leading a terrorist attack, while the other was charged as an accomplice.
The suspects could face death sentence according to Chinese criminal law.
The country was shocked by the severity of the attack in the Yunnan capital, where masked, knife-wielding assailants hacked passengers to death at random.
Beijing has blamed a Uygur separatist group – six male suspects and two female – for the deadly killings. The alleged group leader, Abdurehim Kurban, was among those shot dead by police.
The Kunming attack was the first of a string of attacks on both police and civilians in Yunnan, Uygur-populated Xinjiang and other areas, prompting the central government to step up security and launch an anti-terror crackdown.
Authorities in Xinjiang announced on June 23 they had smashed 32 alleged terrorist groups, prosecuted 315 people, and arrested 380 within a month amid the nationwide anti-terror campaign centred in the restive western region of Xinjiang, the official Legal Daily reported.