An Argentinian man deliberately rammed his car into the Chinese Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Monday in an apparent bid to claim political asylum.
The driver, identified as 24-year-old Gaston Sanda, drove his vehicle into the embassy’s front gate Monday night, causing serious damage to both the car and the entrance of the building.
Though only one person was injured and the Chinese ambassador was not in the building, the incident nevertheless drew a large police response, resulting in the street in front of the embassy being fully blocked.
🇳💥🚗 | Un hombre intentó derribar el portón de la Embajada de China en Buenos Aires con su auto. Fuentes de @CancilleriaARG aseguraron que el hombre pidió que lo atendieran y como no lo hicieron, chocó contra el edificio. pic.twitter.com/2MwLChLbBj
— ᴅɪᴘʟᴏᴍᴀᴄɪᴀ ᴀᴄᴛɪᴠᴀ (@DiploActiva) June 23, 2020
In an alleged video of Sanda circulating on social media, he insisted he knew the “truth” about the Chinese coronavirus and alleged CIA involvement in starting the pandemic. He further requested “help from the Chinese Embassy” in the form of political asylum. Sanda also claimed to have a bomb in the vehicle, though no traces of explosives have been found as of press time.
El que estrelló el auto en la embajada china en Buenos Aires. pic.twitter.com/WVDFAaV655
— Pepeto Rompé (@PepetoRompe) June 23, 2020
His broader motivations remain under investigation, though the authorities are reportedly treating it as a terrorist incident. Some reports allege the man suffers from mental illness.
“The Argentine Police quickly went to the diplomatic headquarters and is now investigating the identity and motives of the actor in the incident,” the embassy said in a statement. “Our Embassy appreciates the prompt response from the security forces and trusts the clarification of the episode by the Argentine authorities.”
A source at the Foreign Ministry told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that the man decided to ram his car into the facility after he was refused permission to speak with officials inside.
In a separate video recently recorded to his colleagues at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), Sanda insisted he was a normal person with no intention of harming himself.
“Hi, I’m Gastón, I’m a concrete student, like you,” he said in the video. “I would never hurt myself or do anything. I’m physically healthy and am all right up here … I wanted to tell you that it was really nothing and that I am fine, I would never hurt myself or do anything, I am completely perfect. This is something temporary that is going to happen.”