36 killed in Shanghai New Year’s stampede after crowd rushes for fake money

36 killed in Shanghai New Year’s stampede after crowd rushes for fake money
At least 36 people have been killed and 47 injured during a New Year’s celebration in central Shanghai. The tragedy might have been caused by people rushing to pick up fake money thrown in the crowd.

The stampede happened shortly before midnight local time as a massive crowd was celebrating New Year in Chen Yi Square in Shanghai's Huangpu district, Xinhua reports.

The injured, many of them students, have been rushed to a number of hospitals in Shanghai, including Changzheng Hospital, the First People's Hospital, Ruijin Hospital, and Huangpu District Central Hospital.

Rescuers and first responders were deployed to the scene to help those wounded. The authorities have set up a working group to investigate the cause of the incident.

Although the cause of the incident is still being investigated, state media and a witness said the stampede began when people tried picking up fake money thrown from a building overlooking the festivities.

Fake money had been thrown down from a bar above the street as a part of New Year celebrations, a man who declined to be identified told Reuters.

However, the Shanghai police later announced the scattered “money” was not the cause of the tragedy. According to them, the city cameras show only a few people who pick up several pieces of paper.

"This incident happened after the stampede," the police statement said as cited by Reuters, without further elaborating on the cause.

President Xi Jinping has ordered the Shanghai government investigate the incident as soon as possible and all other governments to ensure a similar disaster never happens again.

Screenshot from Google Maps

One week before the New Year celebrations, Shanghai authorities cancelled the annual New Year’s eve 3D laser display which attracted nearly 300,000 people last year, according to Shanghai Daily. The reason behind cancellation was allegedly concern about crowd control issues.

Police control the site after a stampede occurred during a New Year's celebration on the Bund, a waterfront area in central Shanghai, January 1, 2015. (Reuters/Stringer)

A number of photos of the chaos in the aftermath of the stampede were posted on Chinese social media site Weibo.

Photos showed large crowds of people gathered at Shanghai’s waterfront area, The Bund, with a lot of police securing the area while the injured were receiveing first aid on the road.

Police control the site after a stampede occurred during a New Year's celebration on the Bund, a waterfront area in central Shanghai, January 1, 2015. (Reuters/Stringer)