The driver then exited the vehicle and chased people with a shovel and knife.
Officials said Yang drove a auto into a crowded pedestrian square in the city of Hengyang in Hunan province with "intent to injure" at about 7.30 p.m. on Wednesday, BBC reported.
The square was particularly busy at the time as many were attending a dancing festival being held at that time. In the videos, dozens of people can be seen lying on the ground, some in pools of blood, while panicked crowds and emergency services personnel gather around them, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported. During the attack, the suspect exited the vehicle and chased bystanders with a spade and knife, The Guardian reports.
The government originally said three people died, but raised the death toll to nine in a statement late on Wednesday.
Nine people have been confirmed dead and 46 others injured by the government as of writing.
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A local government statement described the event as a "deliberate, malicious case of driving with intent to injure".
Police arrested the suspected driver, a 54-year-old Chinese man named Yang Zanyun. He had previously served several prison sentences for crimes including arson and assault, the newspaper said. Authorities have no yet given a motive and no official mention of terrorism has been made.
Occasionally, the attacks are attributed to militant separatists, though such incidents have become less common in recent years amid a stifling security crackdown.
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