Updated: 02/02/18 : 09:08:38
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World :: Van ploughs into pedestrians at Starbucks in Shanghai

Eighteen people have been hurt after a van drove on to a pavement and hit pedestrians in a busy area of Shanghai.

The vehicle hit people on a road next to People's Square around 9am local time, according to the Chinese government.

Police later said they believed it was accident caused by the driver smoking while transporting gas tanks.

Witnesses quoted by local media said the van was already on fire as it drove on to the pavement and ended up outside a Starbucks cafe.

Bystanders reportedly tried to break the van's windows to pull out six people who were inside.

Government officials said 18 people had been taken to hospital and that three were in a serious condition.

The incident came as British Prime Minister Theresa May was in the city as part of a trip to China aimed at striking business deals.

A Starbucks spokesman said its shop was not damaged and that customers and staff were safe.