11 arrested over Chinese landslide

Authorities in southern China have arrested 11 people for their role in a landslide unleashed at a construction waste dump last month that killed 12 people and left 62 others missing and presumed dead.

Prosecutors in Shenzhen city said that a dispatcher and supervisor of the landfill, the chief and deputy manager of a company in charge of the landfill, and seven others were arrested. In the disaster, which happened on December 20, a mountain of construction waste collapsed during heavy rain onto an industrial park in Shenzhen. The city, 10km north of Hong Kong, makes products ranging from cellphones to cars, and attracts workers from all parts of China.

Prosecutors said the 11 were charged with negligently causing a serious accident. They said they have urged police to track down additional suspects.

An official in the district where the landfill was located jumped to his death from a building about a week after the disaster. It was not clear if the man, identified only by his surname, Xu, was under investigation over the landslide, but as head of the district urban management bureau, his responsibilities typically would include regulating businesses and construction sites.

Officials have labelled the landslide a man-made disaster, raising the possibility of harsh penalties for those held responsible. Despite the threat of prison time over industrial accidents, cost-cutting, and a lack of regulatory oversight often lead to deadly disasters in China.


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