A series of explosions ripped through China’s Liucheng county in Guangxi province on Wednesday. According to local officials, 17 mail bombs, disguised as packages, exploded between 3 and 5 pm, killing seven and injuring 51 as of the latest count. Two people remained unaccounted for.
The bombs targeted a number of public facilities, including a shopping center, a jail, a government building, a supermarket, and a hospital. The bombs were believed to have been delivered via express mail.
Police said they were investigating the bombings as a “criminal case,” not an act of terrorism, despite the use of bombs to target numerous public buildings. Xinhua reported that “the possibility of [the explosions being] a terrorist incident has already been ruled out.”
Police had identified a lone suspect, a 33-year-old man identified only by his surname, Wang. The suspect is a resident of Liuzhou city in Liucheng county, where many of the explosions centered.
The explosions were strong enough to collapse buildings and topple cars parked along the road. Images of the blast sites on Chinese social media showed caved in wall and burned out cars. At least one building was hit by two successive explosions, according to an eyewitness account summarized by Xinhua.
Liucheng county’s public security bureau held a press conference on the bombings on Wednesday evening. Official Cai Tian said that police had discovered over 60 suspicious packages, which were being guarded until anti-explosive equipment and specialists arrived. One reporter said he was warned away from several blast sites by police, who said there were still suspicious objects in the area.
Local residents have been cautioned not to open any mail, according to CCTV.
The explosions came one day before China celebrates its National Day, the start of the so-called “golden week” of vacationing and tourism for many Chinese.