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17 detained after storming court

SEVENTEEN former workers of a bankrupt factory in south China's Guangdong Province have been detained after storming a local court in a protest yesterday.

More than 200 ex workers of the Nanhai State-owned Lingnan Mechanism Factory gathered in front of the Nanhai District People's Court in Foshan City around 8.30am, carrying banners expressing dissatisfaction with the court's handling of the factory's bankruptcy, today's Nanfang Daily reported.

They blocked the roads around the court and disrupted work by the court officials, the report said. Some of the crowd dispersed, but others attacked the court staff and police with benches and umbrellas.

Police caught 27 of the protesters and detained 17 of them.

The Nanhai factory applied for bankruptcy in the Nanhai court in January 2001, the Guangzhou-based newspaper said.

The court approved the application after the Guangdong provincial government agreed to offer 24.51 million yuan (US$3.59 million) and the Kezhi Group another 27.28 million yuan for a compensation package for workers.

When it was auctioning the factory site, the court asked the buyer to put aside nearly 1,800 square meters of the land to build housing for 70 families of the workers.

In 2007, the factory was designated a strategic bankruptcy project. Under the court's mediation, the superior department of the factory agreed to offer a cash compensation of 9.7 million yuan to the workers.

But the workers remained dissatisfied with the offer and have repeatedly protested against the court since 2008, the newspaper said.


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