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US$44,000 reward after soldier's killing

POLICE have offered a 300,000 yuan (US$44,000) reward for the capture of a gunman who shot and killed a sentry outside a People's Liberation Army garrison in the southwest city of Chongqing last Thursday.

Police have also issued a description of the attacker, who was caught on camera. He is said to be about 1.75 meters tall and wearing a grey windbreaker jacket and a black hat. He was also carrying a hacking knife.

The 18-year-old guard, Han Junliang, was shot outside the PLA garrison at Chongqing's High-Tech Industrial Development Zone. Han's semi-automatic rifle was taken after the attack. The gunman was not acting alone but it is not clear exactly how many accomplices he had.

Liu Kun, of Chongqing's Public Security Bureau, said 252 units and more than 2,000 policemen were involved in the search for the attackers. Experts from the Minister of Public Security arrived in the city to coordinate with local police.

The municipality is treating the incident as a terrorist attack and has launched a city-wide crackdown on illegal firearms and explosives.

Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu is in Chongqing to supervise the investigation, according to Hong Kong's Wen Wei Po newspaper.

On Saturday, police with copies of the gunman's picture questioned passersby in the area. They also set up checkpoints on major traffic routes.

At barracks in Chongqing, the number of sentries at entrances was increased to six from the usual two.

An official of the equipment department of a military region told Shanghai's Oriental Morning Post that soldiers on guard duty didn't usually have bullets in their weapons, according to army regulations, except under special circumstances or while carrying out important missions.

The attack shouldn't be regarded as an attack on an individual or an attempt to steal a rifle, the newspaper said, citing Li Yunlong, vice chairman for Criminology Research Association of Jiangxi Province.

Rather, the act was "absolutely anti-social in order to threaten the government and people," Li said.


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