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February 2, 2010

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Bribes ended in tragedy

A FORMER senior police officer pleaded guilty at a Beijing court yesterday to accepting bribes to protect a coal mine owner whose illegal activities later caused a massive mudslide in September 2008 in Shanxi Province.

Mining had caused the collapse of a dam and resulted in 277 deaths.

Han Chunxi, former public security director of Xiangfen County in Shanxi's Linfen City, admitted during the hearing by Fangshan District People's Court that he had taken 40,000 yuan (US$5,858) from the owner of the Xinta coal mine, Zhang Peiliang.

Han had ordered his subordinates to keep away from Zhang's illegal mining business, Beijing-based Legal Evening News said.

The devastating collapse on September 8, 2008 occurred at Xinta coal mine's pond where a mud slide gushed out to swamp Yunhe Village in Xiangfen's Taosi Township.

Han confessed that he was given money in 2006 and during Spring Festival in 2007.

Local police had planned a raid at the Xinta mine on September 7, 2008, after Han had become police chief of a neighboring county.

The raid was abandoned because of heavy rain.

The collapse happened the following day.


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