BEIJING: Three people died and 43 were injured when a car ploughed into a crowded square in southern China on Wednesday and police have detained the driver, the local government said.

The car drove onto the square in Mishui town, part of Hengyang city in Hunan province, shortly before 8pm (1200GMT), the Hengyang government said in a statement, adding that the driver had a criminal record.

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Video images carried on state media showed several bodies on the ground as bystanders tended to some of them.

There was no indication in the government statement or state media reports that the incident was terror related.