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Kindergarten head arrested for overload

By He Dan (China Daily)

08:30, November 21, 2011

BEIJING - The owner of a kindergarten in Northwest China's Gansu province, who illegally removed all seats in a school bus so that the vehicle could take in more children, has been arrested, local prosecutors said on Sunday.

Twenty-one people, including 19 preschoolers and two adults, died when the nine-seater school bus illegally carrying 64 people crashed head-on with a coal truck in Yulinzi township, Zhengning county in Qingyang city, on Wednesday. Another 43 were injured.

The bus belonged to Little Doctor Kindergarten in Zhengning. Li Jungang, head of the kindergarten, was arrested under the suspicion of criminal traffic offense as he illegally removed all seats in the van, the county's procuratorate said on Sunday.

After the crash, four officials, including the heads of the county's education and traffic authorities, were suspended from their positions and are under investigation, according to the city government.

Lu Huadong, chief of Qingyang education bureau, was quoted by China News Service as saying that they had asked the head of the kindergarten to take proper measures to stop overcrowding of school buses. But, apparently, no rectifications had been made.

However, Li's relatives revealed that the local traffic and educational authorities had never taken any concrete measures to help private educational institutes to solve their problems.

Li's brother, whose name was not identified, told China National Radio on Saturday that since the kindergarten was set up in 2004, overloaded school buses would occasionally be stopped by the traffic police and allowed to move on once a fine of 500 yuan ($79) was paid.

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