Thu, Sep 23, 2004 - Page 5 News List

Knife-wielding men stab 14 in attack on Internet cafe

AFP , BEIJING

Two men dressed in black stormed into an Internet cafe and stabbed 14 customers in the latest in a series of indiscriminate slashings in China, state media reported yesterday.

The two, both in their 20s, entered the "Broadband Experience" cafe in Beijing late Monday and ordered people to squat, then proceeded to walk down the computer rows hacking terrified patrons at random, the Beijing Times said.

The drama went on for 20 horrific minutes, as a group of accomplices blocked the entrance and no one dared utter a word, with the only sound being the quiet sobbing of a young girl, according to the report.

Eventually the two young men and their accomplices walked out, leaving the customers to call police and provide elementary first aid to the injured, the report said.

Most of the injured were stabbed in the back although some were slashed across the face. One woman was said to be in serious condition.

The Beijing News said a number of people had been apprehended as of late Tuesday, although some suspects remained at large.

The attack appeared to be an act of revenge, as witnesses described how the knife-wielding young men had ordered the security guard of a Beijing residential area to identify himself, saying he had bullied friends of theirs.

If the security guard was among the customers, he did not come forward, which was when the slashings began.

It was unclear why the gang was looking for the security guard in the Internet cafe.

The incident happened on the same day as a previously reported incident in which a knife-wielding man stabbed 25 children and kidnapped a nine-year-old girl at a primary school in east China before being arrested.

One month ago, a mentally ill caretaker killed one child and slashed 14 others and three teachers in a knife attack at a Beijing kindergarten.

And in April, a man stabbed 15 children and two adults at a school in northwestern province of Gansu, a crime for which he was given life in jail Monday.

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