China Police Seek Man Who Allegedly Blew Up Guests at Restaurant

Chinese police were searching Monday for a man suspected of intentionally setting off explosives at a restaurant where he had invited dozens of guests, killing nine people and injuring 25, a police statement said.

The explosion at the House of Xiaoxiang restaurant in south China's Hunan province Sunday night occurred as 30 guests gathered for a dinner hosted by a villager involved in a local dispute, a statement from the local Public Security Bureau said.

The man from Wenjiashi township in Hunan's Liuyang city allegedly told guests he wanted to treat them to dinner and apologize for the dispute, which involved "family matters," the statement said. It did not specify what the dispute was about or give the man's name.

Attacks using homemade bombs in business disputes or personal grudges are reported frequently in China, where most gun ownership is illegal but explosives are widely available.

The police statement was posted to the popular Web site. A man with the press department of the Public Security Bureau in Hunan's capital of Changsha confirmed the document was a police press release but would not give any additional details and refused to give his name.