Nine schoolchildren killed in China knife attack blamed on angry former pupil

The 28-year-old suspect, believed to have been bullied when studying at the school, is held after nine current pupils are killed and 12 injured in rampage

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 April, 2018, 10:21pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 April, 2018, 8:32am

A knife-wielding man with a grudge killed nine middle school children and injured at least 10 others as they returned home in northern China on Friday, authorities said, in one of the deadliest such rampages in the country in recent years.

Seven girls and two boys were killed, Xinhua news agency said, citing local police. The ages of the children were not given, but middle schoolers are usually between 12 and 15 years old in China.

A 28-year-old suspect surnamed Zhao from Zhaojiashan village in Mizhi County was arrested, the public security bureau said.

The suspect confessed that he had been “bullied” when he attended the same Number Three Middle School when he was a child, “hated” his classmates and decided to use a “dagger” to kill people on Friday, the bureau said.

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The suspect was detained and the injured children were receiving hospital treatment, the Mizhi County public security bureau in Shaanxi province said on its official social media account. The attack took place at around 6.10pm local time, the department added.

Knife attacks are not uncommon in the country, but this is one of the most serious incidents in recent times.

In February, a knife-wielding man with a personal grudge killed a woman and injured 12 others in a busy Beijing shopping centre – a rare act of violence in the heavily policed capital.

Last year, a man armed with a kitchen knife killed two people and wounded nine others in a supermarket in the southern city of Shenzhen.

And in January 2017, a man armed with a kitchen knife stabbed and wounded 11 children at a kindergarten in China’s southern Guangxi autonomous region.

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Schoolchildren are also vulnerable targets for disgruntled individuals who want to air their social grievances.

A home-made bomb exploded outside a kindergarten in coastal Jiangsu province in June, killing at least eight people and injured 65, many of them parents waiting to pick up their children from school.

In March 2010, a man in Fujian province stabbed eight primary school students and injured another five, while two months later a man in Shaanxi killed seven children at a kindergarten with a knife.

Additional reporting by Matt Ho