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2 Officials Detained in Kiln Slavery Scandal
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Two labor watchdog officers were arrested by local police in Yongji City, Shanxi Province, in an investigation seeking to shed light on the kiln slavery scandal.
Hou Junyuan, head of the labor inspection team for Yongji City's Labor and Social Security Bureau, faces accusations of dereliction of duty and was detained on Thursday afternoon. The news of his arrest came as another officer from his team, Shang Guangze, has been sacked and detained on charges of abuse of power. 


Details of the case are still under investigation but it has emerged that the two were responsible for press-ganging an under-age laborer from Henan Province to another kiln for work when he was supposed to be sent back home.


So far, police have arrested 168 people and are searching for over 20 other suspects connected to the forced labor revelations. By Sunday night, around 45,000 policemen had raided over 8,000 kilns and coal mine in Shanxi and Henan, freeing 591 workers, including 51 children.


The criminals face a range of charges going beyond illegal employment practices, as they also stand accused of abduction, using child labor and potentially murder.


(Xinhua News Agency June 22, 2007)

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