An SUV has crashed into a crowd at a public square in central China, killing at least nine people and injuring more than 40 others, government officials said.
Police arrested the suspected driver of a red SUV that struck a large group of people at the square in Hengyang, the seat of Hengdong county of Hunan province late on Wednesday.
Around 46 people were injured, the city government office in charge of online information and propaganda said.
The Beijing Youth Daily, a publication of the ruling Communist party’s youth league, said on its official microblog that police were investigating the crash. There was no mention of terrorism or any other motive.
Police identified the suspect as a 54-year-old Chinese man named Yang Zanyun from the same county, who had served several prison sentences for convictions including arson and assault, the newspaper said.
China has experienced violent attacks in public places in recent years, including bombings and arson of buses and buildings, sometimes by people trying to settle personal scores or express grievances against society.
Occasionally, the attacks are attributed to militant separatists, though such attacks have become less common in recent years.
In 2013, an SUV plowed through a crowd in front of Beijing’s Forbidden City before crashing and catching fire, killing five, including the vehicle’s three occupants. Police blamed the attack on Muslim separatists from the Uighur ethnic minority group.