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Thursday, August 27, 2015, 18:15

Tianjin: 11 officials named in probe

By Xinhua

Tianjin: 11 officials named in probe
This picture taken on Aug 20, 2015 shows workers in decontamination suits cleaning up the site of explosions in Tianjin. (PHOTO / AFP)

BEIJING - China's top procuratorate accused 11 officials and port executives of failing to carry out proper management of the storage of dangerous chemicals and their transportation in the Tianjin port, where explosions killed 145 - as per revised toll released on Thursday - with 28 others still missing.

Officials from a number of government departments, including Tianjin local transportation management authorities, work safety regulatory agencies, land resources authorities, the Tianjin local customs office and a state-owned port company, were probed for "dereliction of duty" and "abuse of power," according to a statement from the Supreme People's Procuratorate on Thursday.

The officials facing prosecution include Wu Dai, head of Tianjin Municipal Transportation Commission, and Zheng Qingyue, president of Tianjin Port Holdings Company Limited.

Police detained 12 suspects from Tianjin Ruihai International  Logistics Co. Ltd - owner of the gutted warehouse - that allegedly handled dangerous chemicals without proper oversight.

Police said the company and the detainees were suspected of illegally storing dangerous materials. The detainees included board chairman Yu Xuewei, vice board chairman Dong Shexuan and three deputy general managers.

Police also announced an investigation into Tianjin Zhongbin Haisheng, a company suspected of helping Ruihai illegally acquire safety evaluation papers.

The 11 officials have been placed under compulsive measures, which include summons by force, bail, residential surveillance, detention and arrest.

According to a separate statement by the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) on Thursday, 12 detained suspects include Yu Xuewei, chairman of Tianjin International Ruihai Logistics Corporation Limited, vice-chairman Dong Shexuan, and Zeng Fanqiang, an employee with a safety evaluation firm suspected of illegally helping Ruihai acquire safety evaluation papers, according to the MPS.

The MPS said in the statement the detainees were suspected to have illegally stored dangerous materials.

The MPS statement added that suspects Zhi Feng, general manager of Ruihai, and deputy manager Shang Qingsen are under residential surveillance.

The SPP statement said local government departments, including transportation management authorities, production safety regulatory agencies, and land and resources authorities, are accountable for the explosions.

According to the statement, personnel of the Tianjin Customs District were found to have been slack and irresponsible in supervising the illegal dangerous chemical business run by Ruihai. The personnel involved are also suspected to have illegally issued customs clearance permits to the company and allowing it to carry out illegal business activities.

According to the statement, Tianjin Port has been held responsible for the accident because it failed to respond to potential safety risks posed by Ruihai.

Two blasts ripped through a warehouse in Tianjin Port, where large amounts of toxic chemicals were stored, including around 700 tonnes of sodium cyanide, around 11:30 pm on Aug 12.

All the deceased have been identified, including 88 firefighters, nine policemen and 48 others. The missing people include 16 firefighters, two policemen and 10 others.

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