Man sentenced to death in China for SUV rampage that killed 15

Rampage driver is sentenced to death in China after ramming his car into crowds on a busy square, killing 15

  • Yang Zanyun, 54, was found guilty of endangering public safety by the court
  • He deliberately drove his Land Rover into crowds in Hengyang on September 12
  • Yang then continued his rampage by attacking people with a shovel and dagger 
  • Police said man had wanted ‘revenge on society’ when he carried out the attack 

A man in China has been sentenced to death in China for killing 15 people and injuring 43 others when he ploughed a car into a busy public square. 

Yang Zanyun, 54, was found guilty of deliberately driving his red Land Rover into crowds before attacking pedestrians with a shovel and a dagger in the eastern city of Hengyang in Hunan province on September 12.

Police said the man had previously served time in prison for robbery, drug trafficking and arson and had wanted ‘revenge on society’ when he carried out the fatal plaza attack. 

Yang Zanyun (centre), 54, was found guilty of deliberately driving his red Land Rover into crowds before attacking pedestrians with a shovel and a dagger in Hengyang, Hunan province

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Yang admitted to his crime and was sentenced to death for endangering public safety by dangerous means on Wednesday, according to a statement by the Intermediate People’s Court of Hengyang.

‘The nature of Yang’s crime is atrocious and the consequences of the crime are extremely serious, severely affecting society in a harmful way,’ the court’s on its website read.   

Videos of the fatal incident carried by Chinese media showed a red SUV driving across the busy square at a high rate of speed, striking multiple people. Another clip showed several bodies on the ground as bystanders rushed to their aid.  

A clip of the incident in September shows people fleeing from the scene at the plaza

Police have detained the driver of the car, who they say had a criminal record, according to the local government. The incident took place shortly before 8pm local time on a busy square

China has experienced violent attacks in public places in recent years, including bombings and arson of buses and buildings, sometimes by people trying to settle personal scores or grievances against society. 

Chinese law restricts the sale and possession of firearms, and mass attacks are generally carried out with knives or homemade explosives. 

Many of those incidents have occurred at schools, including several in 2010 in which nearly 20 children were killed, prompting a response from top government officials and leading many schools to beef up security. 

However, in June, a man used a kitchen knife to attack three boys and a mother near a school in Shanghai, killing two of the children. 

Last year, police said a man set off an explosion at the front gate of a kindergarten in eastern China, which struck as relatives gathered to pick up their children at the end of the day, killing eight people.

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