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China steps up explosives checks after karaoke blast
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09:57, July 14, 2007

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China's public security departments were ordered on Friday to tighten control of explosives after a fatal karaoke blast in northeast China, according to a meeting of the Ministry of Public Security.

Locals were shocked by the blast in Benxi of northeast China's Liaoning province on July 4, which killed 25 people.

Earlier reports said that the owner of the karaoke bar was also a coal mine boss who stored explosives in the basement of the club.

Liu Jinguo, vice minister of Public Security, expressed concern about explosives incidents in the lead-up to the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the 2008 Olympics.

Liu said local public security departments should check "all units" which have explosives and eliminate hidden dangers related to the storage and management of explosives.

Local departments should take a serious attitude to the illegal production, storage and transport of explosives, he said.

The north of China is dotted with small coal mines, many of them illegal, which often use explosives.

Crimes committed with explosives should be severely punished, Liu said.
He also said the heads of local public security departments should resign their posts if major explosive incidents happen because of their dereliction of duty.

The ministry will send inspection teams to supervise the work, according to the meeting.

The blast that occurred on the evening of July 4 at the Tianying karaoke bar in Benxi Manchu Autonomous County in Liaoning Province killed 25 people and injured 41. The huge explosion leveled the two-storey entertainment venue and damaged nearly 500 nearby houses.

Investigators said the blast was caused by explosives secretly stored by the bar owner and coal mine boss Qu Yijie, who was himself killed in the explosion.

Source: Xinhua

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