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Four arrested for Bangladesh building fire

Agencies | Updated: 2013-04-28 13:41

Two factory bosses and two engineers were detained in Bangladesh on Saturday, three days after the collapse of a building where low-cost garments were made for Western brands killed at least 352 people.

More were being pulled alive from the rubble at the building, where police said as many as 900 people were still missing in Bangladesh's worst ever industrial accident.

Four arrested for Bangladesh building fire

Garment workers shout slogans as they block a street during a protest to demand the arrest of those responsible for the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Savar, outside Dhaka April 27, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

The owner of the eight-storey building that fell like a pack of cards around more than 3,000 mainly young women workers was still on the run.

Police said several of his relatives were detained to compel him to hand himself in, and an alert had gone out to airport and border authorities to prevent him from fleeing the country.

Officials said Rana Plaza, on the outskirts of the capital, Dhaka, had been built on spongy ground without the correct permits, and the workers were sent in on Wednesday despite warnings the previous day that it was structurally unsafe.

Anger at the negligence has sparked days of protests and clashes, with police on Saturday using tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets to quell demonstrators who burned cars.

Two engineers involved in building the complex were picked up at their homes early on Saturday, Dhaka district police chief Habibur Rahman said. He said they were arrested for dismissing a warning not to open the building after a jolt was felt and cracks were noticed on some pillars the previous day.

The owner and managing director of the largest of the five factories in the complex, New Wave Style, surrendered to the country's garment industry association during the night and they were handed over to police. They will be kept in remand for an initial 12 days.

The factory, which listed many European and North American retailers as its customers, occupied upper floors of the building that officials said had been added illegally.

"PEOPLE ARE ASKING FOR HIS HEAD"

"Everyone involved - including the designer, engineer, and builders - will be arrested for putting up this defective building," said junior internal affairs minister Shamsul Huq.

Anger over the working conditions of Bangladesh's 3.6 million garment workers - most of whom are women earning as little as $38 a month - has grown since the disaster.

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