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April 15, 2011

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Several held after violent traffic row

POLICE have detained several people involved in a violent dispute between urban management officials and a motorcyclist that attracted a mob of onlookers who had to be dispersed by riot police in suburban Songjiang District on Wednesday.

The Shanghai Public Security Bureau posted a statement on its website yesterday saying "they will handle the case in a justified way."

The bureau didn't give further details and didn't say how many people were detained.

Police said the case started over a traffic dispute involving a truck and a motorcycle at the intersection of Huting Road N. and Laiyin Road about 3:20pm. The dispute later turned violent and there are different accounts of what happened.

Urban management officials were in the truck, which lightly bumped a motorcycle that was going through a red light, said Tao Guoping, deputy Party secretary of the Songjiang District Greenery & Public Sanitation Administration.

"It was a tiny incident, but the motorcyclist wanted to make the most of it because we are urban management officials," Tao said.

The deputy said six of his officials, one officer and five assistants, were involved in the "body contact" and were at a police station last night as officers continued their investigation. The involved officials will be fired if they are guilty, Tao said.

Tao told Shanghai Daily the motorcyclist tried to hit one of the officials with a brick. The other five jumped out of the truck to protect the official and the "body contact" just happened, Tao said.

Witnesses said the motorcyclist was beaten up by the six officials and later started lying on the ground to attract attention.

Police soon arrived.

"He had agreed to go to a hospital for treatment and was about to get in an ambulance," Tao said. "But he was stopped by two of his relatives who insisted he make the case bigger by lying on the road to block traffic."

More and more people were attracted to the scene and started sympathizing with the motorcyclist lying in the middle of the road.

Eventually thousands of people blocked the intersection and some vehicles were set on fire. The mob demanded police hand over the urban management officials in the name of justice.

Riot police with helmets and shields were dispatched to the seen late on Wednesday night and the crowd was dispersed around midnight.


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