Authorities crack down on illegal kiln

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Local police rescued 14 workers, including three minors and a retarded person, after shutting down an illegal brick kiln in the city of Huizhou in Guangdong province.

This undated photo shows scars on the arms of Wang Yaxing, a worker at the brick kiln.

This undated photo shows scars on the arms of Wang Yaxing, a worker at the brick kiln.

The youngest of the workers was 15 years old and the oldest was 41.

Most of them left Huizhou and returned home after local police, working with other departments, had destroyed the secret brick kiln early this week, according to Guangzhou Daily.

The newspaper did not publish details about the investigation.

Under the supervision of authorities, the manager of the brick kiln was made to pay his workers the money they had earned on the job, the newspaper reported.

Local residents said the underground brick kiln had been operating in Lilin township in Huizhou's Zhongkai district for 7 to 8 years before it was busted. The investigation came about after family members of the victims began complaining about the conditions at the kiln to local officials.

A police officer from the Huizhou public security bureau refused to comment further on the case, saying an investigation is still proceeding.

Wang Yaxing, 17, one of the workers, said he tried to commit suicide by cutting his wrist twice after he had begun working in the illegal brick kiln.

When he was rescued, Wang, who comes from Guizhou province, had been working in the brick kiln for two weeks.

"Many workers had to work more than 15 hours a day in the kiln," Wang told local media.

"I once wanted to escape, but they (the brick kiln's bosses) used bricks and wooden rods to beat me."

Wang said he would be followed by somebody from the kiln at nearly all times, even when he went to the toilet.

"Now I really want to leave the brick kiln for home," he said after being rescued.

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