Tianjin explosion: 12 government officials and company executives detained over explosion which killed 145

They have been detained on suspicion of 'dereliction of duty' and 'abuse of power'

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12 government officials and company executives have been detained in China over the huge warehouse explosion that killed over 145 people in Tianjin on 12 August.

The people detained include current and retired officials from the local government of Tianjin, and chairman, vice-chairman and three deputy general managers of Tianjin Ruihai International Logistics, the owning company of the warehouse where the explosion occurred.

There are conflicting reports as to the nature of their detainment. The state-run Xinhua news agency said they had been "criminally detained," a pre-arrest detention that comes before police level formal charges.

News of their detention comes amidst growing anger over poor safety standards in Chinese industry, which President Xi Jinping has vowed to improve.


On 26 August, the Communist Party sacked the head of China's work safety regulator, who was formerly the vice mayor of Tianjin. He was fired over corruption allegations, but no specific links were made to the Tianjin disaster.

A notice from the Chinese prosecutor's office said that the detained men "failed to take strong measures in response to the Ruihai company's illegal and unregulated actions, did not assiduously carry out their duties and issued business permits in violations of rules."

Rescuers search the wreckage the site of the explosion

Besides the people who have already been detained, the prosecutor named officials from agencies like Tianjin's transport, land resources, work safety and customs bodies, and said they had been negligent in the supervision of the company, and bore some responsibility for the explosion.

Videos from the explosion went round the world on the night of the explosion, showing huge fireballs dwarfing tall towers and apartment blocks.

At least 145 people died in the explosion, and 28 more are still missing. 76 of those killed were firefighters.

GettyImages-484760554.jpg Over 500 people are still in hospital with injuries they sustained in the disaster.

It is not yet known exactly what caused the explosions, but they took place at a warehouse that held hazardous materials, including thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate.

Clean-up work continues at the site of the blast, with many workers wearing special suits and respirators, in case they come across dangerous chemicals.