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Fatal explosion linked to gambling dispute
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An explosion that killed 17 people in what was originally thought to be a traffic accident was in fact caused by a disgruntled gambler plotting revenge with an apparent bomb attack, police in east China said on Sunday.

Investigators had found fuses and other explosive-making materials in the home of a tractor driver who was killed in the blast in Longwan Village, Wenzhou City in Zhejiang Province, said police.

The explosion occurred outside a small building alleged to have been a local gambling den when the tractor was involved in a collision with a car and a minibus, said police.

Hu Baoqiang, 44, had driven the tractor carrying a tank of gas and explosives to the gambling den in what appeared to be a planned attack, said police.

But the collision occurred right outside the den at 1:54 p.m. and the ensuing blast left 17 people dead, including Hu.

Witnesses said the tractor was blocked by the other two vehicles, which were stopped, and hit them as the driver tried to maneuver around them.

A total of 40 people were injured, including people in the alleged gambling den, bus passengers and passersby.

The blast shattered windows up to 63 meters away.

Police were investigating how Hu obtained the explosive-making materials.

Local police authorities said earlier in the day that the victims were killed in a traffic collision that triggered a blast.

(Xinhua News Agency May 18, 2008)

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