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Officials Detained, 42 Henan Miners Still Missing
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As rescuers continue to search for 42 miners trapped underground last Friday after a colliery flooding in central China's Henan Province, 10 officials were detained yesterday for further investigation and could face stern punishment.


The province's Department of Public Security said five of the officials had fled after the accident at the privately-owned and unlicensed Sigou Coal Mine in Xin'an County, including the owner Li Jianwei.


Li ran away to the northwestern province of Gansu but was caught after a massive manhunt launched by the local government.


Accident workers are draining water from the shaft and drilling a new hole to provide any of those surviving an oxygen supply.


A new regulation came into effect in Henan on Tuesday meaning illegally operating collieries will be fined 1 million yuan (US$123,000) for each death from fatal accidents.


In addition, coal mines found to engage in production without required licenses will be fined between 2 and 5 million yuan and forced to close.


Henan is one of China's major coal producers and suffers many coal mine accidents.


(Xinhua News Agency December 8, 2005)

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