Sus­pect sought road col­lapse

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHAO XINYING zhaoxiny­ing@chi­ Cang Wei and Xie Tian con­trib­uted to this story.

Bei­jing au­thor­i­ties are try­ing to find a leg­is­la­tor who was build­ing a base­ment il­le­gally un­der his court­yard, caus­ing a street sur­face to col­lapse in Xicheng dis­trict.

The col­lapse hap­pened early on Satur­day morn­ing when five work­ers were at­tempt­ing to dig a base­ment un­der the court­yard on Desh­eng­men­nei Street.

The cave-in re­sulted in a pit 15 me­ters long, 5 me­ters wide and 10 me­ters deep, ac­cord­ing to the Bei­jing In­for­ma­tion Of­fice.

Traf­fic on the street was dis­rupted and sub­si­dence was caused to at least four other rooms in prop­er­ties owned by peo­ple north of the site. No deaths or in­juries were re­ported.

A res­i­dent who lives nearby, but who de­clined to give his name to China Daily, said, “This place is too close to Xi­hai Lake, so there is too much wa­ter in the ground to sup­port such a large con­struc­tion.”

Li Bao­jun, who owns the house where the in­ci­dent hap­pened, is a Peo­ple’s Congress deputy for Xuzhou in Jiangsu prov­ince and pres­i­dent of Haiy­ing Group, a cor­po­ra­tion in Jiangsu whose main busi­ness is auto parts pro­duc­tion.

The 190- square- me­ter court­yard, which in­cludes five rooms, was bought by Li in April 2010. Since two of the rooms are un­der a his­tor­i­cal and cul­tural pro­tec­tion pro­gram, any restora­tion or re­con­struc­tion work has to be ap­proved by dis­trict au­thor­i­ties.

On Wed­nes­day, the Bei­jing Plan­ning Com­mis­sion said Li had ap­plied to ren­o­vate the court­yard.

But the per­mit that the com­mis­sion granted only al­lowed him to ren­o­vate the court­yard, not to dig a base­ment.

Li Yun­zhi, who lives across the street, said res­i­dents had long com­plained to gov­ern­ment de­part­ments about il­le­gal con­struc­tion work at the site, but had re­ceived no re­ply.

Beij i ng Youth Dai ly re­ported that city au­thor­i­ties had warned Li and or­dered him to stop work af­ter res­i­dents com­plained in July.

Tang Jin­chao, a gen­eral manager at Haiy­ing Group, who has ar­rived in Bei­jing to han­dle Li’s af­fairs, told China News Ser­vice that Li paid 3.8 mil­lion yuan ($610,000) to a con­struc­tion com­pany in Shan­dong prov­ince.

He told the com­pany to han­dle all mat­ters re­lat­ing to the base­ment con­struc­tion, in­clud­ing ob­tain­ing per­mis­sion from gov­ern­ment de­part­ments.

By Wed­nes­day, the hole had been filled in, traf­fic flow had re­turned to nor­mal and the site was un­der guard.

The au­thor­i­ties have pro­vided ac­com­mo­da­tion for 15 peo­ple whose homes were af­fected by the col­lapse.

Bei­jing Youth Daily said au­thor­i­ties in Bei­jing will re­port Li’s il­le­gal be­hav­ior to gov­ern­ment de­part­ments in Xuzhou. China Daily could not reach Li for com­ment.

Liu Zhongda, direc­tor of the Xuzhou Peo­ple’s Congress Stand­ing Com­mit­tee, said it will await the Bei­jing in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­sults be­fore tak­ing any ac­tion.

Liu, who con­firmed that Li at­tended the an­nual meet­ing of the lo­cal peo­ple’s congress sev­eral days ago, added: “We haven’t re­ceived any re­quests from Bei­jing to co­op­er­ate with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. We will han­dle the in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­sult se­ri­ously when we get it.”

This photo taken

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