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Guard accused of arson in revenge attack
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A former security guard at a factory has been accused of setting his workplace on fire in a revenge attack on Saturday in Hainan Province, the Beijing News reported today.

The 41-year-old suspect was identified as Zhou. He was dissatisfied with the factory's management and payment policy, according to the report. He had been on bad terms with factory cadres and always called them around midnight to complain, the report said.

The fire broke out at a joint venture by Hongta Group and China National Tobacco Corp in Haikou City, capital of the island province. Xinhua News Agency said the fire could cause losses of 10 million yuan (US$1.46 million).

A factory worker and a firefighter were injured in the incident, said police in Haikou.

The report said two buildings were damaged in the blaze, which also burned tobacco, cigarettes and office equipment.

Zhou allegedly bought more than 40 bottles of medicine for about 40 yuan at a pharmacy on Friday and then emptied the containers. Later, he purchased gasoline in four large plastic bottles at a grocery store and bought a lighter at another shop, according to police.

He then took the items to the factory on his motorcycle at 11pm that day and went to work after hiding them in a corner, the report said.

At 3:30 the next morning, Zhou allegedly poured gasoline onto the gas-filled medicine bottles and lit them. Seeing the fire spread quickly, Zhou went to a police station and surrendered, the report said. More than 300 firefighters and 41 fire engines were dispatched to the scene. Blazes were discovered on the third floor of the plant's main building and on the second, sixth and seventh floor of a neighboring building.

(Shanghai Daily July 7, 2008)

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