Xinhua News Agency

Three arrested over gunpowder explosion

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 November, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 June, 2015, 4:12pm

At least three men have been arrested in Wushenqi, Inner Mongolia , over a massive gunpowder blast that injured 20 people and damaged more than 560 commercial and residential buildings last week, mainland media reported.

But the main suspect in the case was still on the run, Xinhua reported yesterday.

The blast ripped through a private lot at the Galutu town truck terminal at about 2pm on October 30 as workers unloaded gunpowder from a truck, Xinhua said.

The truck reportedly came from Xian in Shaanxi province , and was licensed to carry cargo such as consumer goods and animal feed.

Municipal authorities alleged the suspects packed gunpowder into several bags originally meant to hold feed and consigned them for shipment on the truck.

The authorities confirmed the explosion was caused by workers smoking while unloading the cargo who were unaware of the nature of the shipment. The blast occurred seconds after the truck owners and workers threw cigarette butts near the bags.

The truck had arrived in Wushenqi around noon.

The local government said the incident resulted in more than 4 million yuan (HK$4.55million) in direct economic losses. Most damaged buildings had since been repaired.

The report did not mention the background of the suspects or why they were transporting the gunpowder, which is a simple explosive that can be used in homemade bombs.

On October 21, a man killed four people including his supervisor and injured one in a homemade gunpowder bomb blast in Mianyang , Sichuan province . The man had been involved in a dispute with his work colleagues.

In July, a man in Gansu province was jailed for 10 years for selling 450 grams of gunpowder for bombs.