A suspect believed to be responsible for a series of bombings in China this week that killed 10 people and injured 51 was himself killed at the scene, the official Xinhua news agency said on its microblog Friday, citing regional police officials.
Police confirmed the suspect in the blasts in China’s southwestern city of Liuzhou was Wei Yinyong, 33, who was believed to have been involved in a dispute with his neighbors, Xinhua said.
According to police, Yinyong hired street vendors to deliver express mail packages containing explosives to locations such as shopping malls, hospitals and government buildings in Liuzhou.
The devices exploded when the parcels were opened.
Some of the bombs were placed in location in advance and detonated remotely, such as the device that wrecked the dormitory of the Animal Husbandry Bureau in Liucheng, killing four people and injuring many others.
On Thursday, Cai Tianlai, a senior officer at the Liucheng County Public Security Bureau, said officers discovered more than 60 suspicious packages after tip-offs from the public.
The packages were placed in an isolated area where experts defused them and began further investigations, he said.
The authorities in Liuzhou have tightened supervision of the delivery of packages, and the local branch of the State-owned China Post has halted all mail deliveries until Saturday.
The series of blasts has shown how easy it is to acquire explosives in China, revealing a major gap in its huge security apparatus as the economy slows and anger grows over issues like corruption, property and poor public services.
In a country where firearms are banned for most people, these bombings reveal lax enforcement of rules to control access to bomb-making material.
Private gun ownership is almost unheard of in China as controls are so strict, meaning gun crime is rare. Explosives, on the other hand, are widely available from the sprawling mining and fireworks industries.
“Modern Chinese society has lots of contradictions, and if people want to send a message about their anger or make a point, they can get explosives from any mine,” said Pan Zhiping, a domestic security expert at the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences.
“It simply isn’t possible for the police to keep an eye on everybody,” he added.
“It (the blasts) indicates a serious problem in China in terms of public security. It reflects a lack of effective control by the government to restrict access to these dangerous goods,” said Jian Zhang, a lecturer in international and political studies at UNSW Australia in Canberra.
Last year, police in Liuzhou arrested a father and son who were “unhappy with society and wanted revenge” and blew up trash cans in a public square using home-made firecrackers, injuring a female bystander.
However, explosives are not often seen in violence in the far western region of Xinjiang, where China says it is battling an Islamist insurgency, with tight security limiting access to bomb-making materials or guns. Knives are generally involved in the violence there.
Disputes over poor medical services have triggered several violent incidents in recent years.
While the Chinese government has ramped up health spending, hospitals are frequently overwhelmed with patients. Doctors are poorly paid, leading to corruption and suspicions that staff are more interested in making money by prescribing unnecessary drugs and treatment than tending to the sick.
Property disputes in a country where the government legally owns all land have also led to unruly protests, fights with police, imprisonment and even suicide, and created a major headache for Beijing.
In 2011, a man apparently angry about the illegal demolition of his home set off coordinated explosions at three sites near government buildings in eastern China, killing two.
In the same month, a petrol bomb set off by a disgruntled former employee at a rural bank in a heavily Tibetan region of northwestern China’s Gansu province wounded 49 people.
The worst incident of its kind happened in 2001, when a string of explosions at workers’ dormitories in the northern city of Shijiazhuang killed 108 people, blamed on a man seeking vengeance for family problems, although many doubt that explanation.