Toyko driver arrested after 'deliberately crashing' into New Year revellers

Toyko driver arrested after 'deliberately crashing' into New Year revellers

TOKYO-A minivan slammed into pedestrians early Tuesday on a street where people had gathered for New Year's festivities in downtown Tokyo, injuring eight people, police said.

NHK footage showed the van with a smashed front and paramedics carrying the injured on stretchers into ambulances.

Police took into custody a man in his 20s but did not further identify him.

The police also found a 20-liter tanks of kerosene in the auto, which Kusakabe said he planned to use to burn the vehicle, according to the police. The suspect appeared to have planned to set his vehicle on fire, Mainichi newspaper and other Japanese media reported.

Policemen stand next to a auto which plowed into pedestrians on New Year day in Tokyo, Japan, January 1, 2019.

Police declined to comment on the reports, saying such possible motives were still under investigation.

Every New Year's Eve, the train line that includes Harajuku station runs all night, for people welcoming the new year with a shrine visit.

A 19-year-old university student remains unconscious after being hit by the minicar shortly after midnight on Takeshita Street in the Harajuku district, which is normally packed with young shoppers and foreign tourists during daytime.

A man was arrested, with a police spokesman telling AFP news agency he had an "intent to murder".

It is not yet clear whether he was referring to a specific execution or the capital punishment system in Japan. Seven people were killed.

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