Unhappy childhood cited as China tour guide stabs 20

Updated: 2007-04-04 11:09

A tour guide in southwest China stabbed 20 tourists and locals in an attack blamed on a row over kickbacks from souvenir shops and possibly linked to an unhappy childhood, Xinhua news agency said on Tuesday.

Xu Minchao, 25, was leading 40 tourists through Lijiang, a World Heritage-listed tourist destination in mountainous Yunnan province, on Sunday when he suddenly ran into a souvenir shop and demanded a knife, Xinhua said.

"Not realizing the man was ready to kill, a girl in the shop gave him one and was stabbed immediately in the arm," Xinhua said.

Xu ran back out onto the street to stab and slash four residents and 15 tourists. Two boys were seriously injured, including a 15-year-old who remained in critical condition in hospital after suffering brain injuries, Xinhua said.

Some 20 police and volunteers caught Xu after he fled into a local home, Xinhua added.

Xu's rampage was spurred by an argument with a local guide surnamed Peng regarding kickbacks from souvenir shops, Xinhua said, citing residents.

In China, tour guide incomes are often derived solely from commissions obtained from tourists' purchases at designated gift shops and restaurants.

"Though most travel services have rules against taking kickbacks, it's very difficult to implement (them) because most of the guides are part-timers and do not report to the companies," Xinhua quoted Li Wei, a tourism official in Yunnan's provincial capital, Kunming, as saying.

Police were also investigating whether the attack was linked to an unhappy childhood, Xinhua said.

"Xu ... broke down in tears when talking about his parent's divorce and how it overshadowed his childhood, according to local police," it said.

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