An unidentified man yesterday died after setting himself on fire in an apparent suicide on The Bund, Shanghai's historic waterfront, but police declined to give a possible motive. The man poured petrol over himself and ignited it at about 11am on the promenade along the Huangpu River, which was crowded with tourists at the time, Xinhua said. 'It was a horrible scene. I didn't see how it started, but [I] suddenly spotted a flame that was moving about near Chen Yi's statue,' a witness was quoted as saying, referring to a monument to a late marshal of the People's Liberation Army. A police officer from Huangpu district acknowledged the incident. 'We already have some evidence, but we haven't confirmed anything. The police are still investigating.' The corpse was badly burned, Xinhua said. An electric bicycle, apparently belonging to the man, was also burned. A photo posted on the internet showed a blackened mound with firefighters standing nearby, but the image could not be authenticated. By early afternoon there were no signs of the incident, a witness said. Police had removed the corpse and workers had scrubbed the pavement clean, though the smell of petrol was still apparent. Some internet postings about the incident were deleted. Shanghai media carried only Xinhua reports, with little independent reporting. In May, a person set a Shanghai bus on fire using a container of petrol, killing three people. Police attributed the act to a 'contradiction' in society, suggesting some sort of grievance and not terrorism. The perpetrator was believed to be among the dead. In 2001, five people set themselves on fire in Tiananmen Square in Beijing in what was deemed an attempt at self-immolation. The government said they were members of the Falun Gong, a banned spiritual movement.