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July 19, 2009

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Cabbie stabbed in hotel lobby row

SHANGHAI police have detained a man who allegedly stabbed a taxi driver and threatened a woman attendant in a five-star hotel yesterday morning.

The middle-aged man, whose name was not disclosed, was seen stabbing a taxi driver in his cab at about 9am in front of Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel, near the intersection of Huangpu District's Jiujiang Road and Hubei Road.

"He told me to drive straight through the red light right after he got into my car on Sichuan Road N. near Beijing Road," said Shen Zukui, the stabbed cabbie.

The suspect then jabbed Shen's left thigh with a pair of scissors, and forced him to drive against a one-way street to Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel, the 45-year-old Dazhong taxi driver said. The suspect then stabbed Shen's right arm, Shen said.

"He threatened to stab me to death if I didn't follow his directions," he said.

At about 9:15am, the suspect entered the hotel's lobby with a bottle of beer in one hand and a scissor in another, said a hotel employee surnamed Chen.

Huangpu police cordoned off the hotel and evacuated guests and hotel lobby staff.

"A plainclothes police officer tried talking with the man, but he ran to the front desk and grabbed an attendant there," Chen said.

The man also scattered money from the cash register on the floor, another witness in the lobby said.

The man, waving the scissors in front of the attendant, kept asking police officers to come for him, police said.

"When civil police officers talked to him, he shouted 'you don't have gun, you are not a real police officer'," said Zhao Qi, media coordinator with Huangpu District police.

A special police unit was eventually despatched to the scene and the man dropped the scissors and followed officers to a police station.

The man is believed to be mentally ill based on his behavior, police said.

"Although holding the scissors, he stayed away from the attendant and dropped the weapon when we approached," said an officer who asked not to be named. The female attendant wasn't hurt, while the driver was slightly injured in the arm and thigh.


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