Officials among 27 held over fatal Shenzhen fire

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 October, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 October, 2008, 12:00am

Shenzhen authorities have arrested 27 people, including 10 government officials, for involvement in a nightclub fire last month that killed 44 people, local media said.

The Southern Metropolis News, based in Guangzhou, did not identify those arrested in its report yesterday, but said seven of the civil servants who were detained faced charges of dereliction of duty. All had been transferred to the procuratorate for the first step of the judicial process.

The Communist Party's disciplinary department said it would also investigate three of the 10 officials on suspicion of corruption, the report added. The fire broke out just before midnight on September 20, when a performer was reportedly lighting fireworks to entertain the revellers inside the crowded Dance King, or Wuwang, club.

The fireworks ignited flammable ceiling decorations and the blaze spread to electrical wires, causing a blackout. Dozens were injured.

Five Hongkongers were killed and two injured.

City authorities convened a taskforce that included several senior leaders to look into the matter.

The owner of the nightclub, Zhang Wei , also an anti-smuggling police officer in Shenzhen, had already been arrested, along with other investors and management staff. Officials offered compensation of 250,000 yuan (HK$284,000) to relatives of each of the deceased.