Man Speeds Car into Group of Preschoolers, Kills 5, Drives Off

In this file photo, police officers work at the scene where two boys were killed outside an elementary school in Shanghai, China, on June 28, 2018. Attacks on school children have become fairly common in China. AFP/Getty Images

A man has launched a vehicle ramming attack on a group of preschool children in China, killing at least five and wounding many more.

The incident took place in the city of Huludao in country's northeastern Liaoning province, China Daily reported. Though the attacker tried to flee the scene, he was soon intercepted by police and arrested.

At around 12 p.m. local time Thursday, an Audi A6 sedan drove into a group of preschool children who were preparing to cross a road. The students were all from the second elementary school of Jianchang county and were standing close to the school entrance when rammed.

Witnesses said police arrived quickly to close the road while ambulances rushed to help the victims. Children's shoes, belonging and blood covered the ground as emergency workers fought to save the most seriously hurt, according to China Daily.

Police said the man tried to escape by driving into the countryside, but was caught by responding officers. The man's motive is still unclear. Five people have been confirmed killed so far with another 18 wounded, according to local officials.

Violence against school children has become relatively common in China. Though strict gun laws mean U.S.-style mass school shootings do not occur, attackers have often used bladed weapons and now vehicles to achieve similar results.

In October, a 39-year-old woman injured at least 14 children at a school in southwestern China in a knife rampage. Local media reported she held a grudge against the school. She was eventually overpowered and detained by school security guards.

The attack was the most recent in a series of mass stabbings at Chinese schools, largely carried out by people with grudges against the institution in question or mental health problems.

In September, a man who killed nine children in a stabbing spree was executed by firing squad. Zhao Zewei, 28, attacked students of his former school in the northwestern province of Shaanxi in April, having long held a grudge against the institution because he was bullied there as a child.

Zhao waited outside the school gates, prepared to attack the children as they left school for the day. As they did, he rushed at them armed with three knives. Twelve students were wounded in addition to those killed.

And in January 2017, a 41-year-old man broke into a kindergarten in southern Guangxi province to attack children. He scaled the school's walls before stabbing 11 students. Fortunately, none sustained life-threatening injuries.

The Chinese government introduced stricter security measures in 2010 following several knife attacks on schools within one month. They banned strangers from campuses and supplied long metal poles to security staff to help subdue attackers. Citizens also have to register with the government when buying large knives.

But the regulations have not stopped the attacks entirely and—as Thursday's ramming incident shows—attackers have a range of weapons to use.