The owners of a warehouse in Tianjin, which exploded on August 12, reported having received special rights to obtain licenses required to implement their business.
The two shareholders of the company Hai Rui, a warehouse which exploded on August 12 in Tianjin, revealed “have used their connections to obtain the necessary permits,” according to information from the Chinese official news agency Xinhua and times by the South China Morning Post. “Hai Rui even exercised its activities without a license valid for months after the expiry of a temporary permit,” the newspaper added.
According to information published by the Chinese media, the father of one of the main shareholders of the company was the former chief of the port police and son enjoyed so many contacts in the police. The owners have also had good relations with the authorities responsible for security checks.
“Companies using hazardous chemicals must normally have their warehouse to at least one kilometer from public buildings, transport and factory. But the warehouse Ruihai was within 600 meters of a residential area, a highway and a railway line, which have all been affected by the explosion of August 12 “, said the South China Morning Post. The offending warehouse housed 700 tonnes of sodium cyanide.
At a press conference Wednesday, August 19, the mayor of Tianjin has also announced that all companies using hazardous substances in the port would be moved out of the city, reports the China Daily. In addition, all companies working with hazardous substances are monitored and will be closed in case of doubt, added the mayor. The latter had recognized August 17 its share of responsibility in the accident that claimed the lives of at least 114 people and caused billions of damage.
For the New York Times, “a mea culpa from the mayor seems to be the signal of a change in strategy by the Chinese authorities. After days of official silence, the government began to provide information on the business owners, including recent revelations about their corruption in an attempt to calm public opinion. “