11 dead, dozens injured as driver rams into crowd

11 dead, dozens injured as driver rams into crowd

Beijing (Agencies): At least eleven people were killed after a driver ploughed into a crowded Chinese public square.

The incident on Wednesday evening injured another 44 people, according to officials from Hengdong city in central Hunan province.

Police have taken the driver — a man in his 40s surnamed Yang — into custody, describing him as a “vengeful repeat offender”.

“He drove the car by himself into the crowd at Yujiang Square that night and had with him shovels and daggers to attack the crowd, intending to cause serious damage,” a police statement released on Thursday said.

Yang's previous offences included drug charges, theft and intentionally causing hurt, according to the statement.

Pictures reportedly from the scene and shared on social media showed a red SUV with a crushed bumper.

Videos of the incident circulated briefly on social media, but were quickly removed by censors.

Violent crime has risen in China in recent decades as the country's economic boom has widened the gap between rich and poor. Police have also previously blamed such attacks on militant separatists.

In 2013, two tourists were killed when a car rammed into bystanders in Beijing's iconic Tiananmen Square before bursting into flames.

Three attackers also died in the incident, which Beijing blamed on separatists from the restive western region of Xinjiang.