Zeng Yungao, owner of the Daxing Colliery in Xingning City, south China's Guangdong Province, where a fatal flooding claimed 123 lives last month, has been arrested, local procuratorate sources confirmed on Friday.
Zeng, chairman of the board of directors of the Dajingli Coal Co Ltd, was arrested on September 12, said Song Qinchuan, procurator of the Xingning City Procuratorate.
Song said 16 others, most of whom are officials and managerial personnel of the Daxing Colliery, were also arrested because they are held accountable for the fatal accident or illegal mining operations. One was arrested for destroying accounts of the colliery.
The accident occurred at 1:30 PM on August 7. A total of 123 miners were reported missing. Only four escaped. Rescuers only recovered the bodies of six miners killed in the accident.
The rescue operation was stopped on August 29 and the local authority announced that 123 miners were killed after finding no hope of survival for the 117 miners who had been trapped for 23 days in the flooded coal mine.
In addition, the geological situation is too complicated to continue the rescue work in the coal mine, according to the rescue headquarters.
(Xinhua News Agency September 17, 2005)