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Police probe 6 suspects over Qinghai police car explosion

POLICE authorities in northwest China's Qinghai Province are probing six suspects after two police vehicles in a timber farm were hit by minor explosions yesterday following clashes between forest police and residents.

"It was a normal criminal case according to our initial investigation," said Shi Baoguo, deputy head of Makehe Forest Bureau, today.

The emergency lights and roofs of a police car and a fire engine were destroyed by unsophisticated homemade explosives at about 2:15 am yesterday after timbers in the Makehe Forest Bureau caught fire, police said.

"Some farmers and herdsmen illegally logged and transported timber in Makehe, which cause conflicts with the forest protection authorities," said Shi.

The forest police confiscated about 25 cubic meters of timber, two trucks and three motorcycles since last winter, which angered the illegal loggers, he said.

On Sunday afternoon, forest police stopped a local resident's timber truck at a checkpoint in Makehe Forest Farm near Baima, a remote county in Golog. They were stopped for a routine check of their cargo and licenses, police said.

A quarrel broke out between the occupants of the vehicle and the police, which led to dozens of residents gathering at the station to protest. The crowd didn't disperse until midnight.

At about 2:15 a.m. the two police vehicles were hit by explosions.

"We can't prove the mass gathering directly led to the explosion. We need to investigate further," Shi said.

Makehe Forest Bureau, affiliated with Qinghai Provincial Forest Bureau, was 1,100 kilometers from the provincial capital Xining. The forestland there covers an area of 70,100 hectares. About 5,800 Tibetan farmers live in the area.


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