Chinese officials have detained 12 people in connection to a landslide in the country that has led to at least seven deaths and left 75 people missing, according to reports Monday. The landslide occurred last Monday after a dump of construction waste, managed by Shenzhen Yixianglong Investment Development, swept across an industrial park. At least one of the persons detained was reportedly from the company.
The Chinese government has blamed breaches of construction safety rules for the landslide, and said that it was not a natural disaster. The landslide reportedly buried 33 buildings at the industrial park.
Last week, officials raided the company’s offices in Shenzhen, Reuters reported. Police officials will coordinate with the investigation being conducted by the central government and "handle in accordance with the law the criminal suspects," Reuters reported, citing China's official Xinhua News Agency, which did not provide any further information.
The report also said that Chinese officials have taken "coercive measures" against the 12 people, a term usually used to refer to detention.
Meanwhile, the former director of the Guangming New District Urban Management Bureau, a man surnamed Xu, reportedly committed suicide late Sunday by jumping from a building, police officials said. Although police did not link the suicide to the landslide, the incident took place after government announced that strict measures would be taken against those found responsible.
Last week, an executive with a government-appointed monitoring agency said it had asked the company to stop work four days before the disaster due to safety reasons. An earlier report also said that the dump, which was generating 7.5 million yuan ($1.16 million) in earnings for Shenzhen Yixianglong, was supposed to have stopped taking waste 10 months ago but stayed open.
While China has been witnessing a massive economic growth over the past years, the country is grappling to implement proper industrial safety standards. Since the landslide last week, experts have been brought in to deal with landslide risks at three places at the Shenzhen industrial park, an official told Xinhua Friday.