Eighteen people were injured, three seriously, after a vehicle mounted the pavement in a busy part of central Shanghai and ploughed into pedestrians, the city government said.To get more shanghai news, you can visit shine news official website. According to preliminary investigations, the fire was caused by a 40-year-old driver surnamed Chen who was smoking a cigarette inside the vehicle, the Shanghai public security bureau said on its official Weibo feed.

Chen, who is currently receiving treatment, is suspected of illegally transporting dangerous substances, police said. The Shanghai government said in a short statement the vehicle hit the pedestrians on a road running next to People’s Square, injuring 18 people, three of them seriously. The vehicle was on fire, the statement added, but the flames had since been extinguished and an investigation was underway. Shanghai-based news portal the Paper said the vehicle was a minivan, and cited eyewitnesses as saying it was on fire as it drove onto the pavement, knocked people down and came to a stop in front of a Starbucks outlet.

A Shanghai-based Starbucks spokesman told Reuters the store was not damaged and its customers and employees were safe. “The store is currently closed and we will assist the authorities in their investigations,” he said. Other witnesses told the news outlet that there were gas cylinders in the vehicle. The story was later removed from the news outlet’s website and replaced with the Shanghai government’s short statement on the incident, likely an indication that the government ordered the story to be taken down. Footage on Chinese social media, which Reuters could not independently verify, showed smoke coming from the vehicle and people lying flat on the ground injured in the street.

While the police statement did not suggest this was intentional, there have been cases in China of people seeking to settle personal scores who have carried out similar acts.we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.