Four masked men riding two scooters were confronted by an officer in an unmarked police car on Wenlin Jie Tuesday morning, China Police Net reports. The policeman fired two shots before the suspects escaped, but authorities say no one was hurt in the incident.
The suspects, wearing black clothing and black masks, arrived near 150 Wenlin Jie and began to pry at locks on roadside e-bikes at 11am. Upon being discovered, the men reportedly fled down Fuyong Dao on scooters, pursued closely by a black Volkswagen Santana. The car followed the suspects into a closed alleyway and crashed into a gate, trapping one of the escaping bikes. Local media are reporting the masked men then used "one-meter-long machetes" to smash the Santana's driver-side windows, although an eyewitness who wished to remain anonymous told GoKunming the men instead wielded "a sledgehammer and a pair of pliers".
A shot was fired from the car by the driver, a police officer named Chen Yandan. The two suspects waylaid by Chen righted their scooter and rode back up to Wenlin Jie, pursued on foot by the officer.
"As the scooter continued down Wenlin Jie at about 40 kilometers an hour, the Line 1 bus suddenly drove up on the other side[...]The bike switched lanes to pass behind the bus on the far side of the road," a witness told Taihai Net. Bystanders then heard a shot and saw the glass crack in the bus's rear window, according to the same report. The suspects were last seen heading in the direction of Cuihu Bei Lu. Shortly after the suspects fled, SWAT teams arrived on the scene.
A security expert from Yunnan Police Academy explained the policeman's actions, saying, "when a suspect resists arrest by threatening a police officer, public safety is already in jeopardy. In this case, the choice to fire warning shots was warranted." He added that civilians injured by the police under any circumstances can request just compensation.
This episode mirrors another incident that took place on May 26. In that case, a Kunming resident surnamed Li encountered four masked men attempting to steal an e-bike. When Li accosted them, the men pulled machetes, knifed him and fled on scooters. Although Li did not suffer fatal injuries, he did require emergency surgery.
In both cases, police are still searching for the suspects and no link between the two events has been established. News outlets describe the men in the Wenlin Jie case as being between the ages of 18 and 25 years-old and all being roughly 1.70 meters tall, although the witness GoKunming spoke with said they were "nowhere near" that height.
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