Tianjin Port Officials Arrested
The fallout from the August 12 explosion that decimated China’s Port Tianjin and killed more than 145 people continues. Government authorities have arrested 11 municipal officials and port executives accused of corruption. Wu Dai, head of Tianjin Municipal Transportation Commission, and Zheng Qingyue, president of Tianjin Port Holdings Co., Ltd and various safety officials are now charged.
Prosecutors allege the 11 officials were negligent in their supervisory role over Riuhai Logistics Co. Ltd, the company that illegally transported and stored hazardous chemicals in the port. The safety officials are accused of failing to regulate and oversee Riuhai for safety infractions and illegal operations.
Riuhai was opened in 2011 and operated without licenses for several months. Three of the company’s executives were arrested within a few days of the explosion. Chinese police are also investigating Tianjin Zhongbin Haisheng, a company suspected of assisting Riuhai acquire permits.
The explosion exposed safety issues regarding the proximity of chemical storage warehouses to local residential areas. In addition to the warehouse at the center of the explosion, Riuhai also operates two other warehouses that are within one kilometer of schools, hospitals and residential areas. China’s safety regulations forbids chemical storage warehouses within one kilometer of the protect zones.
Last week, Tianjin’s Port Group denied ties to Riuhai saying it was not responsible for overseeing their operations. But, there are reports that indicate the Port Group approved Riuhai’s warehouse facilities as it does with other companies operating within the port structure.
Click here for MarEx’s previous coverage of the Tianjin disaster.