3 detained over China chemical blast that killed 78
BEIJING, China – Police have detained 3 suspects linked to a chemical plant blast in China, which killed 78 people and left hundreds injured, local officials said Wednesday, April 3.
The explosion last month in Yancheng city, in eastern Jiangsu province, was one of the worst industrial accidents in the country in recent years.
Three employees from Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical, whose facility was involved in the blast, had "significant responsibility" for the accident, according to a statement on the Yancheng government's official Twitter-like Weibo account.
Officials said the suspects have been subjected to "criminal coercive measures" – a vague term which indicates detention, arrest or being put under house arrest temporarily until police complete their investigations, according to an explanation on the Chinese parliament's website.
Yancheng police declined to offer details on the case when contacted by AFP.
The blast razed an industrial park and blew out the windows of surrounding homes.
The company, with 195 employees, was established in 2007 and mainly produces raw chemical materials including anisole, a highly flammable compound.
It has a history of violating environmental regulations, according to online records from Yancheng city's environment and ecology bureau.
In 2015 and 2017, the firm was fined for breaking rules on solid and water waste management.
Deadly industrial accidents are common in China, where safety regulations are often poorly enforced.
In November, a gas leak at a plant in the northern Chinese city of Zhangjiakou -- which will host the 2022 Winter Olympics -- killed 24 people and injured 21 others.
In 2015, China saw one of its worst industrial accidents when giant chemical blasts in the northern port city of Tianjin killed at least 165 people. – Rappler.com