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August 17, 2009

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11 under surveillance for mine accident

A COAL mine owner and 10 others in northern China have been put under police control for allegedly concealing a mine accident that killed six miners in September.

Under police control means suspects will be detained or arrested once police believe they have enough evidence to support further action.

Five state cadres, including the inspector dispatched to the mine at Hongtong County, Shanxi Province, were also under investigation for their alleged involvement in the case, The Beijing News reported yesterday.

The miners were killed in a shaft fire triggered by an explosion at the No.5 coal mine of Hongtong's Caojiagou on September 23. The bodies were moved elsewhere by mine owner Yang Sanjun and his accomplices, mainly executives at the mine, to cover up the truth, police said.

However, the Hongtong government received three reports on the accident. The first two were on October 8 and 17 last year and there was no mention of a fire.

The deadly blaze wasn't reported until the July 28 report this year. It offered authorities more details including the identities and home addresses of four of the six dead miners.

Though families of the four denied the deaths in Hongtong, police found death certificates for the four at a funeral home in neighboring Huozhou City in Shanxi.

Police discovered the body of one victim, identified as Gao Changli, was sent to the funeral home by a driver of the coal mine. Police put the 11 suspects, including Yang, under control immediately.

Civilian bomb technicians and coal mine experts were invited to check the No.5 coal mine shaft last Thursday. The case is still being investigated.


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