By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN, Associated Press
BEIJING (AP) — Chinese police are circulating a list of eight suspects wanted in connection with an apparent suicide car crash near Tiananmen Square in Beijing that killed five people and injured dozens, a hotel manager said Wednesday.
Seven of the eight suspects on the list had names typical of the Turkic Muslim Uighur ethnic group native to the restive northwestern region of Xinjiang, said the manager, who gave only her surname, Wu. She said the other individual appeared to be ethnically Chinese.
Wu, who runs the guesthouse attached to the Beijing liaison office of Xinjiang's Karamay city, declined to give other details.
Employees at a dozen other Beijing hotels refused to discuss the order in a likely sign that police have banned talk of their investigation into the attack Monday in the capital's political heart, where China's communist leaders live and work.
Chinese media reports Wednesday made no mention of the investigation, although several reported on the condition of those injured, who included three Filipino citizens and one Japanese man.
A Filipino woman and Chinese man were among the five killed, along with the three people in the vehicle that plowed through pedestrians on a crowded sidewalk, crashed into a stone structure and burst into flames. The sport-utility vehicle ended up near the large portrait of Mao Zedong at the Tiananmen Gate entrance to the Forbidden City, which stands across a wide avenue from Tiananmen Square.
Of the 38 injured, five had surgeries, 12 were in intensive care, and 21 were in ordinary wards, the Beijing News and other papers reported.
Wu said the list of eight names had been distributed on Monday evening via the hotel's check-in function that is connected to the Beijing police network.
Also on Monday, police sent a request for information about two suspects and their vehicle. It wasn't clear whether the two were among those who died in the attack or were still at-large, or whether they were included in the second list of eight names.
Police have released no word about a possible motive for Monday's incident at one of China's most politically sensitive and heavily guarded public spaces.
Radicals in Xinjiang have been fighting a low-intensity insurgency against Chinese rule for years and this summer has seen a number of bloody clashes with the security forces.