Factory owner questioned

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 January, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 January, 1996, 12:00am

THE owner of a fireworks factory in Guangdong has been detained to help in the investigation of an explosion which killed three people, including a six-year-old boy.

The Maoming Fire Services Department yesterday refused to reveal the owner's identity, but said the factory's structural design had never received official approval.

'The fireworks factory has had no official approval from the fire department since it started construction and had no licence from the Government either,' a spokesman said.

The factory was in Jiang Yishan village, 16 kilometres from Maoming. Sunday's explosion was apparently triggered when a worker did not comply with operating regulations, the pro-Beijing Tai Kung Pao said yesterday.

The blast was so strong that three nearby houses caught fire immediately. Eighteen people were hurt.

According to Tai Kung Pao, the fireworks factory was forced to close twice last year because it did not have an operating licence. But the factory owner had defied the order, the report said.

Several schoolchildren were employed illegally to lower operating costs, the paper added.