Beijing: Chinese police suspect the involvement of Islamic militants from the restive Xinjiang region in the mysterious car crash at the iconic Tiananmen Square in which five people were killed and 38 others injured.
A sports utility vehicle ploughed into pedestrians and caught fire yesterday at the Forbidden City entrance overlooking Tiananmen Square here, the site of the 1989 pro-democracy uprising brutally crushed by the military.
Late last night, police sent a notice to hotels to look for "suspicious guests", who had stayed since October 1, and also sought information on "suspicious vehicles," state-run Global Times reported.
The police notice said that a "major case had taken place on Monday" and named two residents of Pishan county and Shanshan county of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region as likely suspects, it said.
Police also described the light-coloured SUV which crashed into the steel railings and later caught fire as having number plates from Xinjiang, where Chinese security forces are facing a violent insurgency headed by the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), an al-Qaeda-backed separatist outfit.
The notice says the SUV has license number plates, all starting with the regional character showing they were from Xinjiang, the daily report said.
Xinjiang, home to the Uyghur Muslims, has been restive for the past few years as Uyghurs have protested over growing settlements of Han Chinese in the province.
If confirmed, this will be the first major incident involving Xinjiang militants in well-guarded Beijing.