CHINA / National

123 killed by illegal explosives production in 2006
Updated: 2006-07-13 10:47

A total of 123 Chinese have been killed in the production of illegal dynamite this year, said the Ministry of Public Security, warning the use of potassium chlorateis extremely dangerous.

Nine accidents have happened this year caused by dynamite production with potassium chlorate, leaving another 75 injured, said the ministry on Wednesday.

Chinese laws prohibited dynamite production with the use of potassium chlorate, but some people illegally mixed potassium chlorate with ammonium salt and combustible matter, leading to accidents, said a ministry official.

Public security authorities have been instructed to crack down on such production by improving their ability to locate production sites, said the official, adding they would conduct mass inspections in key areas and prosecute those involved.

Potassium chlorate is a strong oxidant that can produce ammonium chlorate if mixed with ammonium salt. Ammonium chlorate can decompose and even explode between 30 and 60 degrees Celsius, and is highly unstable if mixed with combustible matter such as charcoal and sulfur.

From January to July 10, China seized 685.5 tons of illegally-produced, stored or traded dynamite and 531 military weapons, the ministry said.

During the nationwide crackdown, police seized 1.8 million detonators and 780,000 meters of fuse wire, closed 30 illegal explosive production and trading bases, and seized nearly 17,000 firearms and 950,000 bullets.

Meanwhile, public security authorities also arrested 7,347 suspects involved in 1,524 cases involving the illegal production, trade, transportation, storage and use of explosives and firearms.

A total of 328 suspects were detained in connection with 94 explosions and thefts of explosives.

The situation of explosives and gun control was still grave despite initial successes, and serious explosive accidents and cases still occurred along with the illegal carrying of guns and gun crime, said Vice Minister Liu Jinguo.

The ministry vowed to continue tightening controls on dynamite and guns, including the illegal storage of explosives in coal mines and miners' properties, illegal dynamite production and the underground production and trade of guns and knives.

Small coal mines, mineral mines and quarries must strictly supervise the use and storage of explosives. Illegal transfers or unexplained disappearances of explosives must be investigated thoroughly, and public security officials should use every necessary means to search, he said.

Patrols around campuses, and security checks in entertainment places and public transportation must be strengthened. Prohibited knives and swords must be confiscated if found on sale on markets and tourist spots, according to the ministry.

Members of the public offering information on these activities would be rewarded.


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