China prosecutor approves detention of former work safety chief following Tianjin blasts

Yang Dongliang has been removed as director of the State Administration of Work Safety.
Yang Dongliang has been removed as director of the State Administration of Work Safety.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's state prosecutor said on Monday (Nov 2) it has approved the detention of the former head of the work safety regulator, sacked after blasts that killed more than 160 people in August in the northern port city of Tianjin.

Yang Dongliang was removed as director of the State Administration of Work Safety shortly after the massive August explosions in a warehouse in Tianjin, a city that lies not far from the capital, Beijing.

In a brief statement, the prosecutor said that it had approved the taking of "coercive measures" against Yang, a term that generally denotes detention and marks the next step in the legal process before a court case.

It provided no other details, apart from saying that its investigation was continuing.

The ruling Communist Party's anti-graft watchdog said last month that Yang was suspected of crimes, including abusing his position to obtain public assets, accepting money and gifts, unauthorised travel abroad, "squandering" public funds and interfering in investigations.

The legal system is controlled by the party and does not challenge party accusations.

It has not been possible to reach Yang for comment and it is unclear if he has a lawyer.