Sun, Jun 09, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Man set fire in anger on bus that killed 47: China

HORROR IN XIAMEN:Police said Chen Shuizong died in the blaze after setting the bus on fire and that he had left a suicide note in his Xiamen home

AP, BEIJING

Smoke rises from a bus as it burns in Xiamen, China, on Friday.

Photo: Reuters

The suspect in a commuter bus fire that rattled a prosperous Chinese port city wrote a suicide note saying he was unhappy and angry before dying in the blaze, local authorities said yesterday.

The fire ripped through the bus as it traveled on an elevated road in Xiamen during Friday’s evening traffic rush, killing 47 people and injuring 34 more. It is unclear if the suspect’s death is counted in the tally.

Police identified the suspect as Chen Shuizong (陳水總) after an on-site investigation, interviews and examination of evidence, including DNA, a government notice said.

It said Chen was a local resident born in 1954 and that police had found a suicide note in his home. He was unhappy with life and set the fire to vent his anger, the city said. Xiamen’s municipal government issued the notice yesterday through state media and a Xiamen police microblog.

China has seen bombings and arsons of buses and public buildings in recent years by people trying to settle personal scores or who have political grievances. In 2009, an unemployed man set fire to a packed bus in Chengdu, killing himself and 26 others. In other cases, people angry or unhappy with life have used knives or other weapons in attacks on children at schools.

On a microblog reported to be Chen’s, the writer claimed to be destitute and pleaded for an opportunity to live. The last entries were made on Thursday, the day before the fire, when the writer chronicled his frustrated efforts to get a local police station to correct his age so he could be eligible for social security payments.

The microblogging account was removed by late yesterday.

After the fire, emergency responders found bodies piled inside the charred, skeletal bus. Investigators said early yesterday that the fire appeared to have been intentionally set. State media reported gasoline traces were found, though the bus ran on diesel fuel.

Xiamen had suspended service of the entire express bus system after Friday’s fire, but operations resumed yesterday morning.

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