Image: Police officers outside a police station in Shanghai where a man fatally stabbed five people
Reuters
Officers keep watch outside Shanghai Zhabei's district police station where a man fatally stabbed at least five people on Tuesday.
updated 7/1/2008 9:41:28 AM ET 2008-07-01T13:41:28

A man armed with a knife stormed a police station in Shanghai on Tuesday, stabbing at least five officers to death, authorities said.

The Shanghai Public Security Bureau said in a news release that a 28-year-old man with the surname Yang set a fire outside the building's gate and then rushed inside and began attacking officers.

Five officers died after being taken to a hospital, while four other police officers and a security guard were hurt, the statement said. Some had chest wounds and others had bloodied faces, the official Xinhua News Agency reported, citing a witness with the surname Yi.

Yang, who is from Beijing and unemployed, said he was seeking revenge after officers at the station in Shanghai's Zhabei district investigated him last year for allegedly stealing bicycles, police said.

Yang was taken into custody at the station.

Officers not armed?
It was not clear how the attacker managed to stab so many police officers and why he was not detained after setting a fire outside the building. Though Chinese police are permitted to carry guns, the attack took place in an office building and it was possible officers there were not armed.

A woman at the Zhabei district station referred questions to the Shanghai Public Security Bureau. Phones rang unanswered in the bureau's propaganda department.

Violent street crime is rare in China, where private gun ownership is virtually banned.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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