9 Busted in China Syringe Attacks

Spate of random stabbings unsettle western Urumqi
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2009 4:46 AM CDT
Chinese paramilitary police patrol through the center of the city in Urumqi, Xinjiang province, last week.   (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
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(Newser) – Chinese authorities have arrested nine suspects in connection with the recent spate of syringe attacks in Urumqi, reports state media. Some 531 people had been stabbed with hypodermic needles in Urumqi, most but not all of whom were Han Chinese, according to police. The attacks had set off another round of protests in the restive Xinjiang region, where earlier this year Han and Uighur communities clashed in the worst ethnic unrest in decades.

The bizarre attacks have caused panic, but so far no one has been poisoned or seriously injured by the syringes. "The attacks are terror attacks," said an official, who said they're orchestrated to frighten residents and create further unrest. Police believe as many as 45 attackers have been involved.