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20 children injured in hammer attack at Chinese primary school

A man believed to be a maintenance worker at the Beijing school was arrested.

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Parents outside the school (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Parents outside the school (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Parents outside the school (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

A 49-year-old man has injured 20 children with a hammer at a primary school in China’s capital, officials said.

Three children have serious but non-life-threatening injuries, Xicheng district government said on its social media account.

The suspect, surnamed Jia, was apprehended at the scene, the statement said.

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Parents gather at a school gate (Ng Han Guan/AP)

Parents gather at a school gate (Ng Han Guan/AP)

AP/PA Images

Parents gather at a school gate (Ng Han Guan/AP)

Jia, from northern Heilongjiang province, was employed through a labour service company to carry out maintenance work at the school. His contract was set to expire this month and had not been renewed.

As an expression of his dissatisfaction, Xicheng district said, Jia wielded a hammer that he normally used for work to injure students during a class.

All the injured children were receiving hospital treatment.

The school, Beijing No 1 Affiliated Elementary School of Xuanwu Normal School, was founded in 1908. According to the school’s website, it has 2,537 students and 199 teaching staff.

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Children are escorted from the site (Ng Han Guan/AP)

Children are escorted from the site (Ng Han Guan/AP)

AP/PA Images

Children are escorted from the site (Ng Han Guan/AP)

Outside the school gates, parents who were there to pick up their children said they had received little information about the attack.

“I was terrified,” said an elderly man who gave only his surname, Xie. His grandson is a second-grader at the school.

“(The school) didn’t tell us anything,” he said. “It would be fine if he attacked us old people, but kids are young and innocent, and they don’t know how to defend themselves.”

Many schools in China have beefed up security following violence against students and family members.

In 2010, nearly 20 children were killed in knife attacks outside school gates.

Last April, nine people were killed outside a middle school in north-western China, allegedly by a former student seeking revenge for bullying.

In November, five people were killed when a car ploughed into a crowd of children outside a north-eastern Chinese nursery.

PA Media