Police say 15 explosions in Guangxi region, which hit buildings including a hospital, were criminal act not terrorism
A series of explosions targeting public buildings in a small city in southern China has killed at least seven people and injured more than 50, officials and state media have said.
The Ministry of Public Security said it was treating the case as a criminal act and not terrorism. It said a 33-year-old local man, identified only by his family name of Wei, was considered a suspect but provided no further details, including a possible motive or whether the man had been detained.
A local Communist party newspaper, the Guangxi Daily, cited police as saying there were 17 explosions in Liuzhou, in Liucheng county, leaving seven people dead, two missing and 51 injured. The paper also said the suspect had not been apprehended.
The explosions, which occurred between 3.15pm and 5pm, hit a hospital, local markets, a shopping mall, a bus station and several government buildings, including a jail and dormitories for government workers, according to a police statement posted by the local newspaper Nanguo Zaobao.
“There were so many of them, and they were so loud, everyone in the county could hear them,” said a hotel employee who gave only his family name, Li. The hotel is near a township office building that was hit by one of the explosions.
“They sounded like someone was blasting rocks in the mountains,” Li said.
Zhou Changqing, the police chief for the city of Liuzhou, which has jurisdiction over Liucheng, said the blasts were triggered by explosive devices delivered in several mail packages, state broadcaster CCTV reported.
A supermarket employee said the store was evacuated immediately when an adjacent supermarket was hit by an explosion. “All of us heard the blast. It was very loud,” he said by phone.
Photos posted online showed streets filled with smoke, strewn debris, dust clouds in the sky and the rubble from a five-storey building that had partially collapsed.
The official Xinhua News Agency reported that at least one more explosion hit downtown Liuzhou, away from Liucheng county. It did not say whether there were any casualties from that blast or whether it was connected to the explosion in Liucheng.