11 under investigation and 12 detained over Tianjin explosions

Updated: 2015-08-27 10:03


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11 under investigation and 12 detained over Tianjin explosions

Rescuers work at the core area of explosion site in Tianjin, north China, Aug. 26, 2015. The death toll from the Tianjin warehouse explosions has risen to 139 as of Wednesday afternoon, and all of them have been identified, according to the latest data from rescue authorities. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING - China's top procuratorate on Thursday announced its investigation into 10 officials and port executives for alleged neglect of duty in the Tianjin warehouse explosions, which killed at least 139 people.

The officials under investigation include Wu Dai, head of Tianjin Municipal Transportation Commission, and Zheng Qingyue, president of Tianjin Port (Group) Co., Ltd.

Another official, Wang Jinwen, who is a senior official with the Ministry of Transport, is also being investigated for suspected abuse of power.

An investigation by the SPP found Wang violated the law to help Tianjin Ruihai International Logistics Co. Ltd., owner of the warehouse that was the site of the blasts and allegedly handled dangerous chemicals, pass safety evaluations and obtain approvals to handle hazardous materials.

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, the police have detained 12 suspects involved in the massive blasts that devastated the port area.

The 12 people include Yu Xuewei, chairman of Tianjin International Ruihai Logistics Co. Ltd., 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 the detainees are suspected of illegally storing 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.

Customs 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 statement said. The personnel involved are also suspected of illegally issuing customs clearing permits to the company and allowing it to carry out illegal business activities, the statement said.

Tianjin Port is also responsible for the accident because it failed to respond to potential safety risks and illegal business by Ruihai, the statement added.

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

Related: All residential buildings damaged in Tianjin blasts are safe, inspectors say

By TANG YUE (China Daily)

Inspectors have given 11 of the 12 apartment buildings worst hit by the explosions on Aug 12 in Tianjin Binhai New Area the highest rating for safety, according to local authorities.

The ratings were part of a post-inspection report released on Wednesday by the municipal Bureau of Land Resources and Housing Management.

Only one building received a lower rating-the No 2 building of Vanke Qingshuilanwan. It had a fire-damaged apartment on the 19th floor, and parts of its rebar were exposed, said Zhao Yi, chief engineer of the team that conducted the inspection.

The defect will not affect the structural integrity of the building, Zhao said.

The blasts at Tianjin Port have claimed 139 lives, including 84 firefighters, and left 34 missing as of Wednesday afternoon, according to the Tianjin Information Office. A total of 527 people remained hospitalized. Of those, 10 were in critical condition.

On Tuesday, five State-owned property developers in Tianjin said they had formed an alliance to purchase blast-damaged apartments from willing residents, with a view toward reselling them after renovation.

The companies are working out a detailed plan with the guidance of the government. The move will protect the interests of the owners of the apartments, according to Di Da, chairman of Tianjin Real Estate Development Co, one of the five developers.

The Tianjin Port fire station will be rebuilt in the same place at the blast site, which is still undergoing cleanup, along with a memorial park and a couple of shopping malls.

"There will be no factories in that area in the future. It will be all green," said Zhang Bingjun, chairman of Tianjin TEDA Investment Holding Co on Wednesday, according to the micro blog of Tianjin Binhai New Area.

The municipal government said on Saturday that people who have temporary difficulty in making mortgage payments due to the blasts will not be punished by banks.