China arrests 12 over Tianjin blasts


Workers in decontamination suits clean the site of the explosions in Tianjin, on August 20, 2015

Beijing (AFP) - Chinese police have arrested 12 people over giant explosions that killed 139 people and devastated a swathe of a Chinese port city, state media said Thursday as prosecutors probe 11 officials for neglecting their duties.

The official Xinhua news agency said the dozen formally held include the chairman and senior managers of the firm whose chemical storage facility exploded in the northern city of Tianjin two weeks ago, in the country's highest-profile industrial accident in years.

Separately, the Supreme People's Procuratorate said on its website that prosecutors in the city were also probing 11 officials for "abuse of power" and "dereliction of duty" over the blasts, which also injured hundreds of people.

In China, formal arrest normally comes after some time in police detention and sees the case handed to prosecutors, with trial and conviction almost guaranteed.

The 12 arrested include owners of Rui Hai International Logistics who were shown on state television last week, when they were already being held by police, "confessing" to using government connections to obtain safety permits.

More than 500 people remain in hospital after the huge explosions, which left a trail of mangled buildings and burnt out cars in their wake.

The incident sparked widespread outrage over alleged safety violations by the firm and possible official collusion, and fears of pollutants contaminating the air and water of Tianjin, home to about 15 million people.

Communist authorities and state-run media have sought to pin blame for the disaster on local individuals and officials, rather than systemic factors.

Prosecutors said the officials they were investigating came from several government departments including transportation management, customs and work safety, and the president of a state-owned port company in Tianjin.

Industrial accidents are common in China, with corruption thought to be a key factor behind lax enforcement of safety regulations.

The head of China's work safety watchdog -- a former vice-mayor of Tianjin -- has been sacked after a suspected corruption investigation, state media said Wednesday. - AFP

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
   

Next In Regional

Huawei starts selling smart cars in flagship stores across China
Covid-19: Cases up by 2,875 bringing total to 384,688 (updated daily)
Alibaba’s launch of bargain marketplace Taobao Deals on Tencent’s super app WeChat hits a snag, source says
King grants audience to committee seeking to end Emergency, says Khalid Samad
Aerospace industry can rebound to pre-pandemic levels by 2022, says Azmin
MCMC: Over 2,000 websites blocked for promoting online gambling
Tesla promises new China datacentre as Beijing lays down the law on local storage of EV data
Meituan CEO who beat Jack Ma gets US$10bil for next fight
China starts large-scale testing of its Internet of the future
Such ‘doge’: Chinese tech giants Tencent and ByteDance race to secure trademark for their own versions of popular emoji

Stories You'll Enjoy


Vouchers