BEIJING: Police in Beijing are searching for eight suspects from China’s restive Xinjiang region after a fatal car crash in Tiananmen Square, hotel staff said on Wednesday, as a minority rights group expressed fears of a crackdown.
A police notice issued to hotels in the capital named eight suspects who appeared mostly to be from China’s mainly Muslim Uighur ethnic minority, sought in connection with a “major incident” in Beijing on Monday, staff at two hotels said.
“If you see these people, immediately contact your superior,” it said.
The notice suggested that police have widened the hunt for suspects launched after Monday’s crash.
Five people were killed and dozens injured after a sport utility vehicle drove along a stretch of pavement, knocking over pedestrians before bursting into flames, in what appeared to be a deliberate act.
State-run media previously said that police were looking for two men from Xinjiang in China’s far west, which is home to the majority of China’s Uighur population.
The new police notice, issued on Tuesday, did not state the suspects’ ethnic backgrounds, but seven of their names were among those commonly used by Uighurs.
It included the two men from the earlier notification, one of them from Lukqun, where state media said 35 people were killed in June in what Beijing called a “terrorist attack.”
The last suspect’s name appeared to be from China’s Han ethnic majority. He was born in 1992 and lived in “police family apartments” in Xinjiang, the notice read out by hotel staff said. The oldest suspect was listed as born in 1943.
Beijing police could not be reached for comment on Wednesday. Chinese media have released few reports about the attack, while online accounts have been quickly censored.