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China arrests 12 people for Tianjin blasts

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Beijing:  Twelve people have been arrested in China in connection with the massive twin blasts in Tianjin port city which killed 139 people, police said today as authorities launched a probe against 11 officials for dereliction of duty.

The arrested people include Tianjin International Ruihai Logistics Co Ltd’s chairman and other senior managers.

The 12 people include chairman of Tianjin International Ruihai Logistics Co Ltd chairman Yu Xuewei, vice-chairman Dong Shexuan and its three deputy general managers, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted police officials as saying.

China’s cabinet has promised a rigorous and thorough investigation into the deadly blasts that ripped through a warehouse on August 12 in the northern city of Tianjin where hundreds of tonnes of toxic chemicals were stored, including around 700 tonnes of sodium cyanide.

Five teams deployed by the State Council have been assigned to investigate the cause, accountability and institutional loopholes that led to the fatal explosions.

The cabinet said its top priority was to ensure the investigation was both timely and accurate.

Meanwhile, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate said that prosecutors were also probing 11 officials for “abuse of power” and “dereliction of duty” over the blasts, which also injured hundreds of people.

More than 500 people remain in hospital after the huge explosions, which also seriously damaged two residential compounds nearby and gutted more than 3,000 new cars in a parking area close to the site.

The people killed in the blasts included 81 firefighters, seven policemen and 47 others.

China sacked the head of its work safety regulator for suspected corruption yesterday.

Yang Dongliang, currently under corruption investigation, was dismissed from his post as director of the State Administration of Work Safety.

The CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) had announced an investigation into Yang for “severe violation of discipline and law” – the usual euphemism for corruption – on August 18.

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