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7 accused over fatal nightclub blaze in S. China
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Seven people have been accused of responsibility for the fatal nightclub blaze that claimed 44 lives in south China's Guangdong Province on September 20, the local procuratorate said on Wednesday.

On top of the list was Chen Xuming, vice director with the Public Security Bureau of Longgang District of Shenzhen, who was suspected of taking bribes of 60,000 yuan (about 7,962 U.S. dollars) from the nightclub and turning a blind eye to drug dealing and prostitution inside the club.

Yang Zhouwu, head of the Tongle Police Station in Longgang, was accused of negligence and taking bribes of 300,000 yuan (about 38,461 U.S. dollars) from the nightclub.

Chen Feng, police officer with the firefighting department of the Public Security Bureau of Longgang and policeman Liu Libiao with the Tongle Police Station were allegedly aware of the club's illegal operation and its lack of fire protection check approval, but they failed to punish the club or urge it to improve. Liu was suspected of receiving 3,000 yuan (384.6 U.S. dollars) from the club.

Huang Zhong, head of the inspection team to Longdong community, and Wang Jin, head of the law enforcement team with the Bureau of Culture and Sports of the Longgang District, were accused of dereliction of duty.

Liu Xinhua, vice head of the Longdong community working station, was accused of requiring his subordinates to conceal the club's real situation so as to cope with inspections.

It is unknown when they will stand trial.

A fire broke out at about 10:49 p.m. on September 20 at the "King of the Dancers" club in Longgang District of Shenzhen, when more than 300 people were watching a performance and fireworks ignited flammable material in the ceiling.

Forty-four were killed and more than 50 were hospitalized after the accident.

(Xinhua News Agency November 26, 2008)

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