A driver sped into pedestrians in a busy intersection in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, killing at least five people and injuring more than a dozen others, according to the police and videos posted online.
Officers arrested a 22-year-old man and were trying to determine a motive, according to the city’s public security bureau. Videos appeared to show the driver throwing money into the air after hitting the people and before being apprehended.
The incident, which took place on Wednesday during the afternoon rush hour, set off shock and anger online and in Guangzhou, a city of more than 18 million people and the capital of Guangdong Province.
Footage of the scene, in the busy Tianhe district, showed a black BMW S.U.V. entering the intersection of Tianhe Road and Tiyu East Road at high speed, making turns as it struck pedestrians and motorists in multiple crossings.
Afterward, victims lay immobile and bloodied on the roads, stray shoes and phones scattered around them. “There was a collective wail,” Hym Chu, a 25-year-old photographer, wrote in a post on Weibo, a Twitter-like social platform. “Everyone ran.”
Mr. Chu said he stayed for two hours at the chaotic scene, retrieving belongings for the injured and helping to move the damaged motorcycle of a delivery worker.
In one video of the driver, filmed while he was being held to the ground, he shouted that his uncle was Huang Kunming, the Communist Party secretary of Guangdong Province. It was unclear whether that was true.
It is rare for vehicles to be deliberately driven into crowds in China, but reckless driving involving luxury cars has sometimes stoked public anger, touching a nerve in a country with a stark wealth gap.
More than a decade ago, in the northeastern city of Baoding, the son of Li Gang, a deputy police chief, killed a college student while drunkenly driving his Volkswagen sedan. As he was apprehended, he yelled, “My father is Li Gang!” Propaganda officials tried to cover up the incident, but the phrase became a grim joke symbolizing the impunity of powerful local officials and those connected to them.
Within hours of the Guangzhou incident on Wednesday, it became one of the top trending topics on Weibo, with many users decrying the senseless deaths and disparaging the driver. By Thursday morning, several graphic videos and photos from the scene had been taken down by censors.
Olivia Wang contributed reporting.