A jeep with three occupants including the driver crashed into a series of barricades and went up in flames right in front of the entrance of Forbidden City, the seat of power for generations of Chinese rulers in the last few centuries
Beijing : At least five people, including a foreign tourist, were killed and 38 others injured on Monday in a mysterious incident when a vehicle ploughed into pedestrians and caught fire at the iconic Tiananmen Square, the site of the 1989 pro-democracy uprising crushed by the military. The dead included three people in the SUV, a Philippine woman tourist and another tourist from southern Guangdong Province, police said.
The 38 injured include two female and one male tourist each from the Philippines and Japan. While the incident created a sensation in the city with no explanation yet, speculation was rife whether it was a terrorist attack. The sports utility vehicle crashed into a guardrail of Jinshui Bridge across the moat of the Forbidden City before bursting into flames, the municipal police and Beijing Emergency Medical Centre said. The injured are receiving treatment at nearby hospitals, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Hundreds of tourists were shocked when the jeep with three occupants including the driver crashed into a series of barricades and went up in flames right in front of the entrance of Forbidden City, the seat of power for generations of Chinese rulers in the last few centuries. Some tourists said they heard an explosion. Fire engines and ambulances were rushed to the scene and put out the fire. As soon as the incident took place, police evacuated the entire area, including two metro stations.
When it was finally thrown open to the public few hours later, the area was completely cleaned with even the damaged barricades replaced. The place was cleaned up so neatly that many foreign journalists who visited the scene found no traces of the incident. Pictures posted in microblogs showed the car in flames with heavy smoke billowing near Mao Zedong’s life-size photo. Tiananmen Square is the most highly guarded area in Beijing as it also faces the Great Hall of People, which housed China’s rubber stamp Parliament.