Beijing suspends knife sales

By Jiang Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2013-7-23 23:58:01

Several supermarkets in Beijing have removed knives from their shelves on Tuesday, after a stabbing in a supermarket on Monday left one woman dead and three people injured.

"We had a call from the company's North China regional headquarters yesterday, informing us that we can't sell knives under orders from the police," the head of a Carrefour store in the Wangjing area of Beijing said Tuesday. 

The Monday stabbing took place at 11:40 am in a Carrefour Store in Beijing's Xicheng district. The suspect, surnamed Wang, bought a fruit knife, and then attacked four victims. 

One woman died from her wounds in Xuanwu Hospital, and two others, including a 12-year-old boy, were treated there. A 2-year-old boy had surgery in Beijing Children's Hospital and is stable.

Wang was released from a mental health hospital in Daxing district in January, said a statement published on the Beijing public security bureau's Weibo account on Tuesday.

The manager of the Xicheng Carrefour store said that they were checking on procedures for selling knives. 

"Once we make sure that our system will not lead to any further similar cases, we'll put the knives back on sale," said the manager, who did not want to be named. 

The manager also confirmed that Wang bought the knife under the real-name registration system. Since 2008, customers  must use an identification card in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, Guangdong Province to buy knives.

CSF Market and Hualian supermarkets said they were also given the police notice to clear the knife sections in their stores. 

While several customers reached by the Global Times in the Xicheng Carrefour said they felt inconvenienced, one customer surnamed Yang said that she felt safer after the knife shelves were cleared. 

"Knives should not be put on sale in a supermarket in the first place as they are dangerous articles," Yang said.

Wang Hongwei, a public security expert with the Renmin University of China, said that the halt on knife sales is a temporary solution and would not radically solve the problem of injury cases concerning mental health patients or petitioners.

"It is not the knife that kills; it is the person who uses it. Instead of hiding away the potential weapons, government should establish a better system to supervise those patients and raise the public awareness to care for and protect them," Wang said.  

Tian Shanshan contributed to this story

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