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Man who started bus fire seen buying gas

THE man who started the fire on a transit bus in southwest China's Sichuan Province in early June that killed 27 people visited a local gas station three times to buy gasoline, The Beijing News said yesterday.

The landlady of Zhang Yunliang, who burned to death at the rear of the bus after setting the fire, told the newspaper she had lent Zhang an iron bucket.

Surveillance video showed Zhang going to a gas station near a hospital in Chengdu, Sichuan's capital, three times on June 3.

He initially took a plastic bucket demanding gasoline, but was refused. Then he visited the station with an iron bucket and bought 100 yuan (US$14.63) worth of gas.

Zhang also invited some of his friends for dinner on June 4 and told them it was his last supper, according to one of his neighbors surnamed Luo.

Zhang asked one of his relatives from east China's Jiangsu Province to pass on a suicide note to his daughters.

That person is in police custody and Zhang's two daughters are under investigation as they didn't report the matter immediately.

Zhang, 62, began living in Chengdu in 2006.

Investigators said Zhang was an unemployed gambling addict who lived off his two daughters. He threatened suicide after his daughters reduced his financial support this year.

When Zhang's pleas for more money were ignored by his family, he threatened to commit suicide, police said.

The killer blaze took place on June 5, some time after Zhang had boarded the bus in Tianhui Township.


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