Demerit for official over mine deaths

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 January, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 January, 2002, 12:00am

A vice-chairman of the Guangxi Government has been handed a demerit over a tin mine accident in Nandan county which killed 81 miners in July, Xinhua reported yesterday.

Xinhua said Wang Hanmin received the punishment after investigators sent by the central Government finished their investigation into the accident.

Mr Wang is the most senior Guangxi official to be punished over the accident. Although the demerit would be a major blemish on his job records, it also meant he would not be held legally responsible for the accident.

Five top officials from Nandan county have also been arrested over the accident. They are accused of trying to cover up the tragedy, abusing their power and accepting bribes. Three senior officials from Hechi prefecture, which administers Nandan county, are still under investigation.

Xinhua yesterday said investigators concluded that the accident was caused by two illegal explosions which destroyed rock partitions and allowed water to flood the mine shafts.

According to Xinhua, as many as 500 miners were working underground when the accident happened and 81 were drowned.