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Terror and death inside the KFC kidnap siege
7/6/2007 14:46

Winny Wang/ Shanghai Daily news

A little girl happily playing in the children's corner of a Shanghai KFC outlet yesterday had no idea of the evening of horror in store for her at the hands of a man who was moving towards her with a kitchen knife in his hand.

He grabbed the girl and for the next seven hours held the knife at her throat. Besieged by police, inside the store he continued to terrorize the girl while her father and mother looked on helplessly.

The girl's mother had taken her four-year-old daughter to the KFC outlet in Times Extra, a shopping mall at the intersection of Yangliuqing and Wuning roads in Putuo District at mid-afternoon yesterday.

While the mother, Li Wenhui, was buying food at the counter and her daughter was playing in the children's corner, a man aged about 50 and dressed in purple clothes was creeping towards her. He stepped over a slide and moved into the children's corner. He took out a kitchen knife from underneath his coat and held it to the girl's throat, an eyewitness, a shop assistant surnamed Chen said.

"It was 2:50pm. I was standing inside a counter of the cell phone mart next door to the KFC and I could see clearly see what happened in the children's corner," Chen said.

Another shop assistant surnamed Li said she had noticed the grey-haired man wandering about the shopping mall for some time before the attack.

"He seemed to grab a brick-sized thing but I could not see it clearly," Li said.

Other witnesses recalled that the mother was crying. She had taken out her wallet and pleaded with the man to release her little girl. The man was yelling out that "I want to eat KFC," witnesses said.

The girl also begged the man not to kill her and promised that she would never come to the store again.

"I didn't know why the man kidnapped my daughter. My heart was breaking," the girl's mother said.

Wang Ziyin, the girl's father, arrived at 3:30pm after receiving a phone call. He said they didn't know the man. He and his wife are migrant workers from Anhui Province, and the family lives in Jiading District.

While police tried to negotiate with the man, a big crowd of onlookers surrounded the shopping mall, causing serious traffic congestion.

During talks between police experts and the man, three pot plants and two bundles of roses were carried into the store and boxes were also piled up to allow police snipers to hide behind.

The man also asked the police to get him a red taxi around 5pm but he decided not to take it.

Some witnesses said they thought the man had a mental disease but police said he behaved calmly during the seven-hour stand-off.

Around 9:40pm, the man became agitated and tried to hurt the girl. A police sniper immediately shot him dead. The girl was taken to a hospital by a waiting ambulance.

The girl and her mother are now both in Putuo District Center Hospital.

"The girl was smiling at seeing so many people looking at her," a patient said.