Six killed in teens' bomb plot

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 February, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 February, 2002, 12:00am

Six people died and eight were injured after a gang of teenagers accidentally set off a home-made bomb in Guangxi.

The blast happened in Rongxian county when the junior high school students mishandled explosives they had planned to use in a revenge attack on a rival gang, according to the Nanguo Morning News.

Four of those killed on Tuesday were teenage gang members. The other two were bystanders. Six of the injured were also bystanders.

Police said the eight injured remained in hospital.

The students had stolen 100kg of gunpowder and 10,000 metres of fuse from a nearby fireworks factory a day before the blast.

The explosion levelled a three-storey apartment building. The gang members were trying to make a bomb at the home of gang leader Liu Xiangyang on the second floor of the building, the report said.

The teenagers had held a grudge against the other gang since Liu was injured in a street fight in January.

Rongxiang County Public Security Bureau closed the fireworks factory from where the teenagers stole the explosives until an investigation is completed. Bureau officials blamed the blast on the easy availability of explosive chemicals at the large number of firework factories in the region.

Fireworks have been linked to deaths across the country over the past week in the lead-up to Lunar New Year celebrations.

In the worst incident, at least seven people were killed on Friday in a fire in a commercial building caused by fireworks in Henan's Yingyang City, China News Service reported. A fireworks stand inside the building exploded when a customer began setting off his newly bought fireworks. The blasts and the fire destroyed the four-storey building, police said.

In February last year, six youths were killed in a fireworks factory explosion in Guangxi's Shanglin county.

The youths, aged between 10 and 16, were playing in the factory after entering an unlocked door.

Use of bombs in settling personal disputes is common in China, where industrial chemicals are readily available. Last year was particularly deadly, with the highest-profile incident taking place in March, when 108 people were killed as a series of crude bombs ripped through the northern city of Shijiazhuang.