Thai po­lice ar­rest sus­pect in Pak­istan fac­tory fire

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

BANGKOK: A Pak­istani man sus­pected of start­ing a dev­as­tat­ing fac­tory fire in Karachi four years ago that killed 255 peo­ple has been ar­rested in Bangkok, Thai po­lice said yes­ter­day. Ab­dul Rehman, 46, was de­tained at a ho­tel in the red light dis­trict Nana area of the cap­i­tal on Fri­day evening, said Thai­land’s In­ter­pol chief.

“Thai In­ter­pol tracked this sus­pect fol­low­ing an ar­rest war­rant sought by the Pak­istani au­thor­i­ties,” Ma­jor Gen­eral Apichart Suri boonya told AFP. “He will be repa­tri­ated as soon as Pak­istan is ready,” he added. Apichart said Rehman was sus­pected of be­ing part of a crim­i­nal gang that was ex­tort­ing the own­ers of a Karachi gar­ment fac­tory.

The gang burned down the fac­tory when the own­ers re­fused to pay seven mil­lion baht ($200,000), he said. The fire at the Ali En­ter­prises fac­tory in Septem­ber 2012 was one of Pak­istan’s worst in­dus­trial disas­ters. A ju­di­cial probe into the blaze was damn­ing, point­ing to a lack of emer­gency ex­its, poor safety train­ing for work­ers, the pack­ing in of machin­ery and the fail­ure of gov­ern­ment in­spec­tors to spot any of these faults. Ini­tially the fire was be­lieved to be an ac­ci­dent. A mur­der case was reg­is­tered against the fac­tory own­ers, but it never came to trial.

Ear­lier this year po­lice said they now be­lieved an ex­tor­tion gang was be­hind the blaze, nam­ing Ab­dul Rehman as the sus­pect who al­legedly lit the fire. Much of the fac­tory’s gar­ment out­put went to the Ger­man com­pany KIK, who have paid out nearly two mil­lion dol­lars in com­pen­sa­tion to the vic­tims’ fam­i­lies. — AFP

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