'Experiment' at home leaves billionaire dead

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The chairman of a major pharmaceutical company and his employee died in an explosion caused by a "chemical experiment gone wrong" at the businessman's residential villa in Taizhou, Zhejiang province, last Friday, local police said yesterday.

'Experiment' at home leaves billionaire deadPolice said preliminary investigations indicate that the chairman of Taizhou Nova Medicine Chemistry Co., surnamed Zhang, along with one of his employees, was conducting an experiment on the fourth floor of his villa in the city's Huangyan district when the explosion occurred.

Both men died on the spot.

According to witnesses, Zhang and his employee were lying dead on a lawn near the villa soon after they heard an explosion.

Police said the "massive blast" most likely threw the two men out of the window.

Police found an instruction book of ozonizer as well as fragments of oxygen cylinders on the fourth floor, suggesting a chemical experiment was in progress.

Zhang's family confirmed he often carried out tests on the fourth floor of the villa.

Many chemical materials were stored inside the Zhang residence, police said.

Zhang was also an enthusiastic antique collector, who owned a private museum in Taizhou.

According to a local media report, Zhang tried to make the antiques he owned appear older, using chemicals, and subsequently sold the pieces off for a profit.

The report said Zhang had been caught selling fake antiques in Beijing in 2002.

Police said they are continuing an investigation to confirm the cause of the explosion.

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