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Mine accident cover-up officials charged

PROSECUTORS in Shanxi Province have charged 10 more officials for covering up a mine accident that killed 277 people, the worst in China last year.

Xiangfen County Party Secretary Kang Hailong and county chief Li Xuejun were among the officials charged with covering up the reasons for the accident and the number of casualties. The disaster left another four missing and 33 injured and caused a direct economic loss of 96.20 million yuan (US$14.07 million), Procuratorial Daily reported today.

Three of the charged, Kang, Li and Sang Haiming, the deputy director of the Shanxi Land and Resource Department's law enforcement bureau, were also facing charges of receiving bribes, the newspaper, under the Supreme People's Procuratorate said.

The 10 officials were the second group to be prosecuted for their involvement in the fatal accident. Twelve officials were sentenced for up to five years in jail at the end of last month for their role in the mine accident.

Kang was found to have received 73,000 yuan when he was party secretary of three counties, Li received 40,000 yuan as county director, and Sang received 10,000 yuan from a private mine owner. Kang could not account legally for 1.07 million yuan worth of family property and Li could not account for 1.21 million yuan worth of property.

The collapse of an unlicensed iron ore dreg-retaining pond triggered a massive landslide on September 8 in Xiangfen County. The torrent of mud and mining waste buried an outdoor market near a village of more than 1,000 residents.

Thirty officials involved in the fatal mine accident have been prosecuted and 17 of them have been found guilty, Procuratorial Daily reported today.

After the accident last year Xiangfen County officials claimed that the tragedy was caused by a mudslide and 226 people were killed.


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