Rioters beat up two policemen and took them hostage in a raid on a police station in southwestern Guangdong on Saturday, after a dispute over a village accident spiralled out of control, Xinhua reported yesterday. More than 40 Henan natives gathered in 30 cars outside Xiangshan Weihe police station in Gaozhou's Shegu township at 5pm. The crowd, whose members were not identified by the state media, stormed the station armed with batons about three hours later. Postings on microblogs nevertheless identified them as Henan natives. They took two policemen hostage after beating them and damaged an office desk and computer. The group were detained by police an hour later in Shegu township, along with the two wounded officers. Pictures from the state news agency showed furniture, including a telephone and computer monitor, strewn across the ground floor office of the police station. The incident came after a local villager was struck by a harvester driven by a Henan native who had been hired for the job in Baini village in Shegu. The gathering crowd was angry after the driver and his helpers refused to take the victim to hospital. A fight broke out between local villagers and the workers, which resulted in injuries on both sides and a truck belonging to one of the workers having its front windows smashed. Local police intervened and escorted the suspects to the police station after taking the injured to a health clinic. Police in Gaozhou city and Xiangshan could not be reached for comment yesterday. Microblog postings said some Gaozhou residents drove their harvesters to the Maoming city government to protest against the Henan rioters. But a local said things had calmed down. "I only learned of the incident from the news. The village is calm and is peaceful," the woman said. Two rioters have so far been arrested, pending further police investigation. Many internet users wondered how civilians had managed to kidnap two policemen after raiding a police station. "How could this happen? It's usually the other way around where civilians are being bullied by police," a weibo posting said.