POLICE have detained one of China's most famous entrepreneurs for alleged involvement in the torture and subsequent death of a worker. The New China News Agency reported yesterday that Yu Zuomin, the chairman of the Daqiuzhuang Agriculture, Industrial and Commercial Corporation, had been detained in relation to the case of Wei Fuhe, who died in suspicious circumstances on December 13 last year. Yu, who built Daqiuzhuang, a collective enterprise, into a multi-billion-yuan conglomerate, was accused of ''shielding and harbouring criminals'' and for perverting the course of justice. The NCNA said investigations were proceeding. Sources in Tianjin said Wei, who was an employee of Wanquan Company, a Daqiuzhuang unit, had been suspected of corruption and other crimes. It was reported in Tianjin that last December he was detained, interrogated and tortured by one of Yu's sons and security personnel at Daqiuzhuang. While the agency did not say who caused Wei's death, it pointed out that he had died after having been ''illegally detained and beaten up''. The sources said Yu's son had subsequently fled Tianjin, and that Yu was accused by Beijing authorities of harbouring him and interfering with investigations into Wei's death. ''Daqiuzhuang, which occupies an entire village in Jinghai county just outside Tianjin, is a mammoth complex which has its own security personnel,'' a source said. ''Because of the apparent resistance of Yu Zuomin, over 1,000 members of the People's Armed Police sealed off the area in March in their bid to arrest the culprits.'' At a press conference last week, the Minister of Public Security, Mr Tao Siju, said of the four suspects involved in Wei's death that two had been arrested and two had fled. Yu, who is reported to be on friendly terms with patriarch Mr Deng Xiaoping, attended the National People's Congress in March as a deputy. Political analysts said his detention could deal a severe blow to Daqiuzhuang, which has been at the forefront of experiments with markets. Until early this year, hundreds of factory directors, professors and other researchers toured Daqiuzhuang every day to learn about market reforms. Yu's detention might also trigger calls for investigations into his business practices, including the elevation of his children to senior positions in the corporation. Analysts said that because of Yu's elevated political status, it was unlikely he would get a stiff prison term. Last year, Daqiuzhuang, known as China's richest village, paid more than 100 million yuan in taxes.