Factory boss held as gas leak fells 370

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 July, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 July, 2004, 12:00am

Police in Kaifeng City , Henan Province , have detained a chemical factory manager after a gas leak caused by an explosion at his factory left more than 370 people sick.

Xinhua said a large quantity of hydrogen chloride gas was released on Saturday when a compressor exploded at Kaifeng Modern Chemical Technology Factory. The gas quickly spread through the factory and nearby residences.

The agency said 376 people had fallen sick after inhaling the gas and had sought treatment at hospitals. As of last night, 20 remained in hospital under observation.

Earlier media reports said the factory belonged to a company under China Petroleum Group. However, the company last night issued a statement denying they were related.

China News Service said Kaifeng Modern had violated 'contractual obligations' and operated the factory on a site leased by a China Petroleum subsidiary to a driving school.