Tianjin blasts: China arrests 12; names 11 ‘negligent’ officials

(From China Daily)

China  has accused 11 Tianjin government and port officials of negligence in connection to explosions that killed 139 people.

The death toll from the Tianjin warehouse explosions has risen to 139

The death toll from the Tianjin warehouse blasts has risen to 139

Twelve executives from Ruihai International Logistics, which owned the blast-hit chemical warehouse,  have also been arrested.

The officials from various government departments, including Tianjin local transportation management authorities, work safety regulatory agencies, land resources authorities, Tianjin local customs office and a state-owned port company, were investigated for “dereliction of duty” and “abuse of power,” according to a statement from the Supreme People’s Procuratorate Thursday.

Some of the accused organizations are Tianjin Transportation Committee for allegedly issuing illegal business license to the company; Tianjin Municipal Planning and Land Resources Commission for illegally approving the storage of dangerous chemicals; Tianjin Xingang Customs for opening a green way to the unqualified company and reportedly indulging in illegal activities; Tianjin Municipal Administration of Work Safety; the Administration of Work Safety of Binhai district; and Tianjin Port (Group) Corporation.

The prosecuted officials included Wu Dai, head of Tianjin Municipal Transportation Commission, and Zheng Qingyue, president of Tianjin Port Holdings Co., Ltd.

Ten people, including Director of Tianjin Municipal Transportation Committee Wu Dai, former deputy director of Tianjin Port Authority Li Zhigang, and Deputy Director of Tianjin Municipal Administration of Work Safety Gao Huaiyou are under investigation for alleged dereliction of duty. Deputy inspector from the Ministry of Transport Wang Jinwen has been charged and detained for abuse of power.

The police detained 12 suspects from Tianjin Ruihai International Logistics..

The 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.

The police also announced the investigation of Tianjin Zhongbin Haisheng, a company suspected of illegally helping Ruihai acquire safety evaluation papers.

Further probe by the investigation team of the State Council for the Aug 12 Tianjin port accident is under way.

‘Almost all residential buildings hit are safe’

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 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, according to the Tianjin Information Office. A total of 527 people remained in hospital. 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 clean-up, 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, according to the micro blog of Tianjin Binhai New Area.

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



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