CHINA> Regional
13 arrested over fire in Shenzhen nightclub
By Chen Hong (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-09-27 07:08

SHENZHEN -- Police arrested 13 suspects in connection with the nightclub fire that killed 44 people in the southern city of Shenzhen, Guangdong Province.

Since the Sept 22 midnight fire, police have detained 23 people, including the two investors of Wu Wang Club, in Shenzhen and surrounding cities and provinces. The other 10 are still in custody and are under investigation, said the Shenzhen public security bureau.

Wang Shuaiwen, 30, a staff member of the nightclub who set off the fireworks that night, has been charged with causing the fire.

Six people, including Wang Jing, president of the club, Zhang Wei, ex-husband of Wang and co-founder of the club, and four others of the club's management group, were charged with negligence and violation of safety rules.

Another six people have been charged with harboring criminals, according to police.

As of 12 am on Friday, family members of 31 victims of the fire had signed compensation agreements with the local government, according to the Longgang district authorities.

The Longgang district government is paying kin of those who died 250,000 yuan.

The property of Wu Wang Club has been frozen and the lawsuit over the fire is expected to take a while. Family members of the victims can file a suit and claim for compensation from the frozen club property. The club will pay back the government after the court ruling, said Huang Wei, spokesman for the Longgang district government.

Some 43 people injured in the fire are still in hospital. Four of them are on life support. Medical experts assigned by the Ministry of Health said the injury to their nervous system as a result of suffocation is most likely beyond recovery.

Despite a citywide drive to preempt such incidents following the nightclub fire, a fire broke out at an old factory of a Taiwan-funded company in Shajing of Shenzhen's Bao'an district around 4 am on Friday. It was put out in five hours. There were no casualties.

Preliminary investigations showed it was caused by short circuit, according to a statement by the Information Office of the Shenzhen municipal government.