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March 29, 2013

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Tighter security at city schools after knife attack

Security has been tightened at schools in Shanghai following a knife attack on Wednesday that injured 11 people, including several children.

Entrance doors must be locked and no unauthorized personnel allowed to enter schools when students are having classes, according to a notice issued to all middle schools, elementary schools and kindergartens yesterday by the city's education authorities.

And a guard at a kindergarten in the Pudong New Area revealed that he and his colleagues had been issued with pepper sprays, helmets and rubber clubs.

On Wednesday, a man is said to have killed two relatives before launching his attack on children and residents near the Jinhui Elementary School in Fengxian District.

Of the 11 people injured, 10 arestill in hospital, including six children.

A nine-year-old boy who suffered a skull fracture is in intensive care but all the injured are in a stable condition, hospital officials said.

The man surnamed Zang from neighboring Jiangsu Province has been detained by police. He is also receiving medical treatment after he was injured when enraged residents chased him and beat him with bricks, clubs and iron bars.

Police said Zang killed his sister and her mother-in-law before he launched the attack near the school.

The women's neighbors said they were killed after they had refused to lend him money. They said Zang then headed to the school because that's where his sister's son was a pupil.

The residents who rushed to stop Zang's attack and help to seize him have been hailed as heroes.

District government officials said they were investigating the case and would reward residents for their "heroic actions."

"It was so horrible. The man was acting like a maniac attacking anyone in sight," said witness Li Hua, "Many people, including me, chased him for several hundred meters and I started beating him with a club.

"I beat him until the club broke. And the others kept beating him with bricks and iron bars until he finally couldn't fight back and just stayed on the ground," Li said.

Among those who gave chase was Xia Yongxin, a 40-year-old Hunan Province native who was recovering from his wounds in hospital yesterday.

"I saw him attacking the children so I decided to fight him. I picked up a shovel but he immediately turned away from me," said Xia.

"I chased him for several hundred meters but when I fell down the man turned around and attacked me."

Xia said he lost count of the number of times he was struck on the head but he could feel the blood flowing from his wounds.

Some parents said they saw the man assaulting people with a knife in each hand, aiming at their heads and necks.

"Most of the children are safe thanks to the brave young men," a witness said. "Among the crowds, most of the people were children or elderly men who had no way of defending themselves."

At some kindergartens and elementary schools in the Pudong New Area, security guards could be seen with helmets and rubber clubs yesterday.

"Equipment including helmets, clubs are pepper sprays were issued to us by supervising authorities during the night," one guard said.

Police investigating the case said they were trying to find if Zang had a history of mental illness.


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