Official drives into theater, injures 26 in central China

An official has been taken into police custody after injuring 26 people by driving a government car into a movie theater in central China’s Henan Province, the local government said Monday.

The accident occurred around 11 a.m. on Sunday, when Liu Xianchong, Party secretary of the Culture, Radio, TV, Film, Press and Publication Bureau of Wancheng District, Nanyang City, drove a government car into a movie theater and injured people participating in a puzzle game held there for the Lantern Festival.

Liu was driving a VW Santana and mistakenly stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake, according to police.

Twenty-six people were injured in the accident, and they have been sent to the hospital for treatment, local police said.

Two of the 26 injured are still in critical condition, but their injuries are not life-threatening. Six people have left the hospital after receiving medical exams, according to the hospital.

The government said Liu had been on sick leave for about seven months due to a cerebral infarction.

The Party Committee of Wancheng District and the local government have set up a group to handle the incident and its aftermath, including organizing a medical treatment team to rescue injured people, punishing the official in accordance with laws and regulations, publicizing the accident throughout the district and educating other officials and cadres.

Local police have taken Liu into custody and seized the government car involved in the accident.

A further investigation into the case is underway.

Chinese officials and cadres may be supplied with government vehicles, but such vehicles may not be put into private or personal use.


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