Fatal car crash that killed five children and injured 18 outside Chinese primary school was deliberate, police say
- Driver had ‘extreme thoughts’ of wanting to drive into any random target
- Criminally detained after leaving five children dead and 18 injured
Police say the man who drove a car through a group of children outside a primary school in northeast China on Thursday deliberately mowed them down because he was “depressed” due to his marital troubles.
A 29-year-old man has been criminally detained for endangering public safety. He was arrested after a black Audi sports car ploughed into the group of around 30 children, causing five deaths and injuring 18 people.
The incident happened at around noon on Thursday outside the No 2 Primary School in Jianchang county in Huludao, Liaoning province, according to a Weibo statement from Huludao police.
A police investigation identified the man as Han Jihua from Jianchang county and said that he had been “depressed” due to his marital troubles, which caused “extreme thoughts” of wanting to drive his car into any random target, according to a statement from the Jianchang County Propaganda Bureau on Thursday evening.
The statement also described the unemployed suspect as “prejudiced and narrow-minded”.
Police have ruled out drugs or alcohol, according to Xinhua.
Beijing Time, an online news outlet owned by Beijing Radio and Television Network, quoted local police who also identified the suspect as Han Jihua, the son of the Communist Party boss of Qingniushan village in Jianchang county.
Surveillance camera footage shared by Chinese media showed a black car swerving to the wrong side of the road before hitting a group of about 30 children crossing the road, throwing some of them into the air.
Han fled the scene while driving a black Audi sports car but was caught later by police.
Several children were rushed to Jianchang County People’s Hospital for emergency treatment, a hospital worker told Red Star News.
“Now, the mental condition of the children whose lives are not in danger seems to be OK,” said the source.
Some of the casualties were first-grade and kindergarten pupils at the school, Shanghai-based news site Thepaper.cn reported, citing the Jianchang Education Bureau.
School workers told Beijing Youth Daily that the children were out on their lunch break, when they would cross the road to get food from restaurants nearby.
A police investigation is under way.
Fatal traffic crashes frequently make headlines in China.
In October, at least 13 people were killed when a bus plunged 50 metres into a river in Chongqing.
The crash occurred after the bus driver and a passenger became embroiled in an argument, resulting in the driver losing control of the vehicle.
A motorist also ploughed his car into a crowded square in Hengyang, Hunan province, in September, leaving at least 11 dead and 44 others injured.