HONG KONG — Five people were killed on Thursday when a car veered across the centerline of a street and slammed into a crowd of schoolchildren and adults in a city in northeastern China, according to Chinese state news media reports.
China Central Television reported that in addition to the five killed, 18 people were also injured, but it was unclear how many of the dead and injured were children. A graphic video that circulated on social media sites showed several children lying sprawled on the road after the car plowed through them.
The driver did not stop and was arrested two hours later in a rural area outside the city, Huludao, in Liaoning Province Beijing Youth Daily reported. The newspaper published photos online showing police officers surrounding a person believed to be the driver, a young man with close cropped hair wearing a gray jacket.
The police said the cause was under investigation and declined to offer any indication of why the driver crashed into the children.
The video showed the children had largely crossed to the far side of the road and traffic, which was briefly halted to make way for them, was already opening up again when the approaching car, a black Audi, veered into the oncoming lane and hit them.
Many online commenters speculated that it was another case of “baofu shehui,” or taking revenge on society, a phrase used to describe the motives of people who carry out attacks on random civilians. Such violence is often directed at schoolchildren and usually carried out by individual attackers armed with knives.
Last month, 14 kindergartners were slashed by a woman in the southwestern city of Chongqing. In June, two children were killed in a knife attack in Shanghai, and an attacker killed nine students outside a middle school in Shaanxi Province in April.
Experts say several factors contribute to such violence, including mental health issues and a desire to retaliate against others over personal problems.
Unemployment and other financial problems are sometimes a contributing factor. But the car that crashed into the children was a black Audi, a vehicle frequently used by officials in China and closely associated with political power and wealth.
Albee Zhang contributed research from Beijing.
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