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Probe shifts to assigning blame

NOW that the cause of the fatal accident at the Lotus Riverside apartment complex has been determined, investigations are turning their attention toward assigning blame.

Xie Liming, director of the Shanghai Work Safety Administration, said yesterday that "guilty parties will face severe punishment."

A government investigative team of police, prosecutors and officials from city construction and other related departments is involved in the probe to fix responsibility for last Saturday's collapse of a 13-story apartment building that caused the death of a worker.

During a news briefing yesterday, Shanghai government spokesman Chen Qiwei didn't say whether government officials in Minhang District are being investigated for reportedly owning shares in the project developer, Meidu Real Estate Co, but he did say the probe has now shifted focus to determining who should take responsibility for the building collapse.

Government authorities said nine people associated with the project remained "under control" yesterday to assist in the investigation.

One of those is Wang Jinquan, head of the company supervising the project, Shanghai Guangqi Construction Supervision Co Ltd.

He told Shanghai Daily that his company had warned the developer against piling the excavated earth against the building that eventually toppled over.

The developer could have saved up to 7 million yuan (US$1.02 million) by keeping the excavated earth inside the construction site to be used for future green spaces, according to earlier reports.


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