Ex-worker kills one in Mazda car plant attack

Posted on Wednesday, 23 June 2010 , 12:06:17 byAlina

Filed under ex-workerworkerkillsonecarplantattackmazdaMazda

Ex-worker kills one in Mazda car plant attack

One person was killed and 10 others hurt when a former worker drove his car at colleagues at a Mazda factory in southern Japan.

The incident occurred at around 7:40 a.m. at the firm's Ujina factory in Minami Ward and adjacent Fuchu factory in Fuchucho. The driver, Toshiaki Hikiji, 42, of Asa-minami Ward, Hiroshima, ignored security at the gate and drove into the plant as workers were arriving in the morning.

He hit two people close to the plant's east gate and then hit nine more inside the compound. Hiroshi Hamada, 39, a Mazda employee was killed and of the 10 injured, two were seriously hurt, Kyodo said.

"I pray for the spirit of the man who was killed, and pray for the recovery of the 10 who were injured," Mazda President Takashi Yamanouchi said in a statement.

According to the police, Hikiji fled the scene after hitting the workers, and called the police at about 8 a.m. asking them to get him. Hikiji was arrested less than an hour later a few kilometres away on suspected murder and other charges, Hiroshima prefectural police spokeswoman Takae Shiozaki said.

Police said he had been carrying a knife and had said he wanted to kill people, Kyodo news agency reported.

Japanese media reports said Hikiji was a contract worker who had been let go in April. But Mazda Motor Corp. spokesman Kotaro Minagawa said he had quit in April on his own, citing personal reasons, after working just eight days at the plant.

"As far as we know, there have been no particular events involving him, such as getting into trouble with someone," an official said.

But he suspect said he had been fired by the firm around April and told police he intended to kill people out of frustration.

"I quit [the firm] two months ago. A lot of things happened afterward." But he later claimed that he was fired.

This incident comes two years after Tomohiro Kato, then 25, stabbed seven people in Tokyo in an attack thought to be linked to anger over his job as a temporary worker at another car-maker.