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China police kill kidnapper armed with explosives

The incident took place in Hohhot, capital of the northern Inner Mongolia region, on Sunday at around 11:00 am.

FILE: Police tape is seen at a crime scene in Beijing. Picture: AFP

BEIJING - Police in China shot and killed a kidnapper who held three people hostage using a homemade gun and explosive devices, local authorities said Monday, in a rare case involving firearms in the country.

The incident took place in Hohhot, capital of the northern Inner Mongolia region, on Sunday at around 11:00 am.

The suspect, surnamed Zhou, had fired the gun as a threat, Hohhot police said on their account on the Twitter-like Weibo platform.

Later that evening, officers "decisively shot and killed the suspect" before successfully removing the explosive devices from the hostages.

The case is under further investigation, they said.

Incidents involving homemade explosives have occurred elsewhere in China, such as northeast Liaoning province, where three people were injured in an attack on a police station last March.

In July 2018, a 26-year-old man set off a small explosion outside the United States embassy in Beijing, injuring his hand and sending smoke into the air.

Still, gun violence is rare in China, where the government tightly restricts the ownership of firearms.

There are no official statistics on gun-related deaths.

Last March, a person wielding a gun killed five people in Inner Mongolia before being arrested.

In June 2017, a bomb blast killed eight people and injured dozens outside a kindergarten in eastern China and in November the same year, three people were shot dead and six others wounded in southern Guangdong province.

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