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Top cop faces bribery trial after coal disaster

THE former chief police of a central China county will go on trial next Monday for taking bribes from the owner of a coal mine where 277 people were killed in a landslide in 2008.

Han Chunxi, former director of Xiangfen County Public Security Bureau in Shanxi Province's Linfen City, is charged with taking 40,000 yuan (US$5,859) in bribes, today's Beijing News reported.

When Han's bureau set up a branch near the mine, miners stormed the police station, prosecutors said. So Han asked his officers not to check the mine again, resulting in a lack of security at the site, where illegal explosives were used, they said.

From November 2006 to February 2007, Han allegedly received 40,000 yuan in bribes from Zhang Peiliang, former president of Xinta Mining Co, the mine's owner.

The collapse of an unlicensed iron ore pond triggered a massive landslide on September 8, 2008. The torrent of mud and mining waste buried an outdoor market near a village of more than 1,000. At least 277 people were killed. Four remain missing.

A probe into the incident saw five officials removed from their posts and deprived of Party membership.


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