Ve­hi­cle plows into New Year’s crowd in Tokyo, in­jures eight

Panay News - - WORLD | NATION -

TOKYO – At least eight peo­ple were in­jured, one se­ri­ously, when a ve­hi­cle plowed into crowds cel­e­brat­ing New Year’s Day in Tokyo early on Tues­day.

A po­lice spokesman said the driver had been de­tained and na­tional broad­caster NHK said the man had been ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of at­tempted mur­der.

He was iden­ti­fied as Kazuhiro Kusak­abe, 21, from Osaka, a ma­jor city about 400 km (250 miles) south­west of Tokyo, NHK said.

NHK said the sus­pect had ini­tially de­scribed the in­ci­dent as an “act of ter­ror” but later said the at­tack was in re­tal­i­a­tion for cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment.

The in­ci­dent hap­pened shortly af­ter mid­night lo­cal time on Mon­day in the pop­u­lar tourist area of Hara­juku, near Meiji Shrine, in cen­tral Tokyo.

“I can’t be­lieve it, this is a place I’m fa­mil­iar with, so it’s very shock­ing,” said Tat­suhiro Yae­gashi, a 27-year-old worker in the area.

The street was closed to ve­hi­cles at the time of the in­ci­dent to ac­com­mo­date the large num­ber of pedes­tri­ans mak­ing their way to the shrine for New Year’s prayers.

TV pic­tures of the scene on Tues­day showed a gray col­ored light ve­hi­cle used in the at­tack, po­si­tioned across the street. The front of the ve­hi­cle was badly dam­aged and dozens of po­lice and res­cue of­fi­cials were at the scene.

The sus­pect fled from the scene and as­saulted a passerby be­fore he was cap­tured 20 min­utes later, NHK said. About 20 liters of kerosene were found in the ve­hi­cle.

“I learned about the in­ci­dent later. But I shud­der to think. If the in­ci­dent had hap­pened five min­utes later, I would’ve been in­volved,” a woman who walked past the scene shortly af­ter the in­ci­dent told NHK.

In a sim­i­lar at­tack in 2008, a man who said he was tired of life drove a rental truck into a crowd of pedes­tri­ans in Tokyo be­fore jump­ing out and stab­bing sev­eral peo­ple. At least seven peo­ple were killed and a dozen in­jured.

AP

A po­lice spokesman said the driver – iden­ti­fied as Kazuhiro Kusak­abe, 21, from Osaka, a ma­jor city about 400 km (250 miles) south­west of Tokyo – had been de­tained and na­tional broad­caster NHK said the man had been ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of at­tempted mur­der.

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