Police have detained 17 more suspects connected to a chemical blast in eastern China last month which killed 78 in eastern China last month which left hundreds injured, local authorities said Monday.
The 17 suspects are accused of making “false evaluations” of the company’s operations, the Yancheng government said on its official Weibo account. They include company employees and those working for “intermediary organisations,” it said without elaborating.
The explosion in eastern Jiangsu province was one of the worst industrial accidents in the country in recent years and led to the closure of the plant.
Police have taken “criminal coercive measures” against the 17 suspects, said the Yancheng city government on its official Twitter, bringing the number people rounded up over the blast to 26.
The latest group includes individuals from an unnamed third-party organisation, who are accused of falsifying project evaluations, and Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical company, whose plant was involved in the blast.
The March 21 explosion razed an industrial park and blew out the windows of surrounding homes.
Deadly industrial accidents are common in China, where safety regulations are often poorly enforced.
In 2015, massive chemical blasts in the northern port city of Tianjin killed at least 165 people.
China has a history of major work safety accidents and each one normally triggers a nationwide inspection campaign aimed at rooting out violations and punishing officials for cutting corners or shirking their supervisory duties.
The latest arrests brings to 26 the number of people detained in connection with the disaster.