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China Focus: Doubts cast over legitimacy of Tianjin blast warehouse

English.news.cn   2015-08-19 13:46:24

TIANJIN, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- The son of a former police official and a former state company executive are top shareholders of a dubious company whose warehouse exploded on August 12 in Tianjin, exclusive interviews by Xinhua have uncovered.

Xinhua gained access to executives of Tianjin Rui Hai International Logistics Co. Ltd, including company head Yu Xuewei, deputy head Dong Shexuan, general manager Zhi Feng and vice manager Cao Haijun. All are currently in police detention.

Interviews and cross-checking uncovered false ownership.

Li Liang is listed as the major shareholder of the company. But Yu Xuewei, a 41-year-old former executive at a state-run chemical company, confirmed he was the actual owner and holds 55 percent of the shares through his cousin Li.

Dong Shexuan, a 34-year-old man, holds 45 percent of the shares through his schoolmate Shu Zheng.

Dong is the son of Dong Peijun, a former police chief for Tianjin Port who died in 2014.

"I had my schoolmate hold shares for me because of my father. If the news of me investing in a business leaked, it could have brought bad influence," Dong told Xinhua.

Before setting up the company in 2012, Dong sold tires, cosmetics and wines.

Yu Xuewei, who had been the deputy manager of the Tianjin Branch of China's state-run Sinochem Group, was travelling with his family in Hebei Province, when the blasts occurred on Aug. 12.

"I met Dong Shexuan during a dinner party in 2012. His father was police chief and he was well connected in the port," Yu told Xinhua.

Rui Hai's management, including general manager Zhi Feng, who was injured in the blasts, had worked for Yu at Sinochem before Rui Hai was founded.

Yu said he and Dong planned to capitalize on their connections by establishing a logistics company, which they did on November 28, 2012.

These connections are thought to have facilitated their business by helping them obtain various fire safety, land, environmental and safety certifications.

"My guanxi (translated as connections) is in police and fire. When we needed a fire inspection, I went to meet with officials at the Tianjin port fire squad. I gave them the files and soon they gave me the appraisal," said Dong.

Dong did not specify whether there was a bribe or official misconduct.

Zhu Liming, deputy head of the planning and land management bureau at Binhai New Area, which granted the land and construction license for the warehouses, said his bureau "referred to the fire safety documents, which had given the green light in terms of whether the warehouse was a safe distance from the residential area".

China stipulates that dangerous warehouses must be 1,000 meters from major transport hubs and public buildings, but the warehouse was only 560 meters away from the Vanke residential community and 630 meters from a rail station.

Suspicion also surrounds other documents from the company, which are very likely to have been skewed.

"The first safety appraisal company said our warehouses were too close to the apartment building. Then we found another company who got us the documents we needed," Dong said.

Meanwhile, from Oct. 2014 to June 2015, the company handled hazardous chemicals without a license.

"After the first license expired, we applied for an extension. We did not cease operation because we did not think it was a problem. Many other companies have continued working without a license," said Yu Xuejun.

The State Council, China's cabinet, has set up a panel to investigate the accident, which has killed 114 people so far. The team will "define the nature and gravity of the accident, and determine liability," according to the statement.

The investigators will also advise which punishments should be given.

Related:

China to launch national checks on dangerous substances

BEIJING, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- China will check all dangerous substances across the whole country, the production safety watchdog said Tuesday.

The checks will continue for about half a month from next Tuesday to Sept. 10, said a notice on the website of the State Administration of Work Safety, targeting industries related to dangerous chemicals, explosives, fireworks, elevators, non-coal mines, public transportation and ports. Full story

China treats polluted water at Tianjin blast site

TIANJIN, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of tonnes of contaminated water at Tianjin Port, the site of two massive warehouse explosions last week, needs to be treated, over fears that rain may exacerbate the problem.

Pipeline and ground water at the blast site will be processed and drained to make room for the coming rain, said Bao Jingling, Tianjin bureau of environmental protection chief engineer, on Tuesday morning. Full story

Military seeks more access to blast site, biochemical cleaning underway

TIANJIN, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- Chinese soldiers are clearing two emergency routes to aid access to the core area of two massive explosions at a warehouse in Tianjin last week, as nuclear and biochemical specialists begin decontaminating the site.

The 340-strong nuclear and biochemical team, dispatched from Beijing, entered the core blast site on Tuesday afternoon and started cleaning the ground and surrounding facilities and buildings, according to military sources. Full story

China Headlines: Tianjin mourns blast victims, doubts remain

TIANJIN, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- After placing a bouquet of white chrysanthemum at the foot of their son's photo, the elderly couple would have collapsed had they not been supported by someone else.

Zi Fuchang and his wife travelled almost 800 kilometers from Zhoukou in Henan Province, central China, to the northern port city of Tianjin, to bid a final farewell to their son. Full story

China Headlines: China steps up rescue in massive Tianjin blasts

TIANJIN, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of rescuers, soldiers and medics have been mobilized to search for the missing, clean up toxic chemicals and treat the injured after last week's Tianjin explosions.

The death toll on Monday rose to 114 after a warehouse storing hundreds of tons of toxic chemicals exploded last Wednesday in the city of Tianjin. About 700 were hospitalized, thousands of cars were destroyed, and nearby buildings were damaged in the blasts.Full Story

Premier Li pays respects to firefighters lost in Tianjin blasts

TIANJIN, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Bowing to the photos of the deceased firefighters, PremierLi Keqiangon Sunday paid respects to those young men who lost their lives in two massive warehouse blasts in north China's port city of Tianjin that have killed 112.

"They are all heroes and deserve the respect of the whole society," said Li, while visiting a brigade of Tianjin fire department.Fullstory

Chinese police chief stresses transparency in handling Tianjin blasts

TIANJIN, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun ordered authorities Sunday to release information concerning the Tianjin blasts and rescue operation in a timely and transparent manner, to respond to public concerns.

Speaking at a meeting on rescue work, Guo also urged local authorities to continue to search for survivors while properly disposing of the dangerous chemicals around the blast site and preventing further accidents.Full story 

Editor: Luan
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China Focus: Doubts cast over legitimacy of Tianjin blast warehouse

English.news.cn 2015-08-19 13:46:24

TIANJIN, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- The son of a former police official and a former state company executive are top shareholders of a dubious company whose warehouse exploded on August 12 in Tianjin, exclusive interviews by Xinhua have uncovered.

Xinhua gained access to executives of Tianjin Rui Hai International Logistics Co. Ltd, including company head Yu Xuewei, deputy head Dong Shexuan, general manager Zhi Feng and vice manager Cao Haijun. All are currently in police detention.

Interviews and cross-checking uncovered false ownership.

Li Liang is listed as the major shareholder of the company. But Yu Xuewei, a 41-year-old former executive at a state-run chemical company, confirmed he was the actual owner and holds 55 percent of the shares through his cousin Li.

Dong Shexuan, a 34-year-old man, holds 45 percent of the shares through his schoolmate Shu Zheng.

Dong is the son of Dong Peijun, a former police chief for Tianjin Port who died in 2014.

"I had my schoolmate hold shares for me because of my father. If the news of me investing in a business leaked, it could have brought bad influence," Dong told Xinhua.

Before setting up the company in 2012, Dong sold tires, cosmetics and wines.

Yu Xuewei, who had been the deputy manager of the Tianjin Branch of China's state-run Sinochem Group, was travelling with his family in Hebei Province, when the blasts occurred on Aug. 12.

"I met Dong Shexuan during a dinner party in 2012. His father was police chief and he was well connected in the port," Yu told Xinhua.

Rui Hai's management, including general manager Zhi Feng, who was injured in the blasts, had worked for Yu at Sinochem before Rui Hai was founded.

Yu said he and Dong planned to capitalize on their connections by establishing a logistics company, which they did on November 28, 2012.

These connections are thought to have facilitated their business by helping them obtain various fire safety, land, environmental and safety certifications.

"My guanxi (translated as connections) is in police and fire. When we needed a fire inspection, I went to meet with officials at the Tianjin port fire squad. I gave them the files and soon they gave me the appraisal," said Dong.

Dong did not specify whether there was a bribe or official misconduct.

Zhu Liming, deputy head of the planning and land management bureau at Binhai New Area, which granted the land and construction license for the warehouses, said his bureau "referred to the fire safety documents, which had given the green light in terms of whether the warehouse was a safe distance from the residential area".

China stipulates that dangerous warehouses must be 1,000 meters from major transport hubs and public buildings, but the warehouse was only 560 meters away from the Vanke residential community and 630 meters from a rail station.

Suspicion also surrounds other documents from the company, which are very likely to have been skewed.

"The first safety appraisal company said our warehouses were too close to the apartment building. Then we found another company who got us the documents we needed," Dong said.

Meanwhile, from Oct. 2014 to June 2015, the company handled hazardous chemicals without a license.

"After the first license expired, we applied for an extension. We did not cease operation because we did not think it was a problem. Many other companies have continued working without a license," said Yu Xuejun.

The State Council, China's cabinet, has set up a panel to investigate the accident, which has killed 114 people so far. The team will "define the nature and gravity of the accident, and determine liability," according to the statement.

The investigators will also advise which punishments should be given.

Related:

China to launch national checks on dangerous substances

BEIJING, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- China will check all dangerous substances across the whole country, the production safety watchdog said Tuesday.

The checks will continue for about half a month from next Tuesday to Sept. 10, said a notice on the website of the State Administration of Work Safety, targeting industries related to dangerous chemicals, explosives, fireworks, elevators, non-coal mines, public transportation and ports. Full story

China treats polluted water at Tianjin blast site

TIANJIN, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of tonnes of contaminated water at Tianjin Port, the site of two massive warehouse explosions last week, needs to be treated, over fears that rain may exacerbate the problem.

Pipeline and ground water at the blast site will be processed and drained to make room for the coming rain, said Bao Jingling, Tianjin bureau of environmental protection chief engineer, on Tuesday morning. Full story

Military seeks more access to blast site, biochemical cleaning underway

TIANJIN, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- Chinese soldiers are clearing two emergency routes to aid access to the core area of two massive explosions at a warehouse in Tianjin last week, as nuclear and biochemical specialists begin decontaminating the site.

The 340-strong nuclear and biochemical team, dispatched from Beijing, entered the core blast site on Tuesday afternoon and started cleaning the ground and surrounding facilities and buildings, according to military sources. Full story

China Headlines: Tianjin mourns blast victims, doubts remain

TIANJIN, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- After placing a bouquet of white chrysanthemum at the foot of their son's photo, the elderly couple would have collapsed had they not been supported by someone else.

Zi Fuchang and his wife travelled almost 800 kilometers from Zhoukou in Henan Province, central China, to the northern port city of Tianjin, to bid a final farewell to their son. Full story

China Headlines: China steps up rescue in massive Tianjin blasts

TIANJIN, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of rescuers, soldiers and medics have been mobilized to search for the missing, clean up toxic chemicals and treat the injured after last week's Tianjin explosions.

The death toll on Monday rose to 114 after a warehouse storing hundreds of tons of toxic chemicals exploded last Wednesday in the city of Tianjin. About 700 were hospitalized, thousands of cars were destroyed, and nearby buildings were damaged in the blasts.Full Story

Premier Li pays respects to firefighters lost in Tianjin blasts

TIANJIN, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Bowing to the photos of the deceased firefighters, PremierLi Keqiangon Sunday paid respects to those young men who lost their lives in two massive warehouse blasts in north China's port city of Tianjin that have killed 112.

"They are all heroes and deserve the respect of the whole society," said Li, while visiting a brigade of Tianjin fire department.Fullstory

Chinese police chief stresses transparency in handling Tianjin blasts

TIANJIN, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun ordered authorities Sunday to release information concerning the Tianjin blasts and rescue operation in a timely and transparent manner, to respond to public concerns.

Speaking at a meeting on rescue work, Guo also urged local authorities to continue to search for survivors while properly disposing of the dangerous chemicals around the blast site and preventing further accidents.Full story 

[Editor: huaxia]
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