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May 26, 2011

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Passengers watch as driver attacked

A FEMALE driver of a public transportation bus was left in a state of shock by the indifference of her passengers as she grappled with a man who attacked her - all the while trying to ensure that the bus stayed on course.

Zhou Weiqin, a driver of a No. 116 bus, was awarded 5,000 yuan (US$769) yesterday by her bus company in Baoshan District but lying injured on a hospital bed, she seemed unwilling to recall the "darkest three minutes" of her life.

City police said they were still looking for the man who allegedly assaulted the 42-year-old driver in the May 13 attack.

Officers said they have identified the man and located his address. The man, surnamed Shen, is 33 and lives in Yangpu District.

Other sources said the man did not have any mental issues even though his mother suffers from a mental disease.

That would explain the presence of drugs to treat mental health problems in a bag that was left on the bus after the man fled the scene.

On May 13, Zhou was driving in Baoshan District around noon when she reminded passengers there would be no stops on the approaching elevated road.

However, a man suddenly approached her in a rage, demanding to know why the bus did not stop, and then began punching her. Zhou didn't stop the bus until it was safely off the busy elevated road.

"It's a horrible thing," said Yin Xiaoding, the bus company general manager who reviewed surveillance cameras on the bus. The beating lasted for about three minutes during which Zhou was also kicked and finally thrown off the bus, the camera showed.

The man was described as "bareheaded and physically strong with a tattoo-like print on his face."

Some of Zhou's colleague were moved to tears after watching the gory episode, with Zhou's husband, who also works in the same bus fleet, visibly shaken.

The bus company has canceled Zhou and her husband's shifts and has also paid more than 10,000 yuan for Zhou's medical treatment, according to Yin.

Zhou, suffering a broken rib and injuries to the back, awaits surgery.

Yin and the others were astonished that none of the passengers - there were about a dozen of them, including some young men - stepped up to stop the attack, camera footage showed.

Only an old man tried to persuade the attacker but backed off when he was threatened.

But some passengers defended themselves, saying that they did try to help and two of them "accompanied the injured driver to hospital" while the others called police.


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