China landslide: Shenzhen official jumps to death, say police

Rescuers search for survivors on a collapsed building following a landslide in Shenzhen, in south China's Guangdong province, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015. Image copyright AP
Image caption The massive landslide engulfed dozens of buildings

A local official in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen has apparently killed himself, days after a landslide there buried dozens of people.

Police said the man who fell off an apartment block on Sunday night was the former head of the local Urban Administrative Bureau.

He is thought to have authorised the landfill site that collapsed.

It is the third recent case in China where officials appear to have killed themselves after industrial disasters.

Shenzhen police have taken legal action against 12 people involved in the landslide - some from the company that owned the landfill site.

The government had already warned that those responsible would be "seriously punished in accordance with the law".

The 20 December landslide engulfed more than 30 buildings at an industrial park in the city, one of China's biggest and a major industrial centre.

More than 70 people were buried and are still unaccounted for. An official investigation is under way.

Separately, over the weekend, the owner of a mine where miners were trapped by a rock fall jumped down a shaft, killing himself, in an apparent suicide.

Earlier in the year, an official in Tianjin fell to his death from a high building after the massive chemical explosion which killed 173 people.

The BBC's Stephen Evans, in Beijing, says the reason for the deaths is not clear - but one possibility is that a crackdown on people responsible for accidents is pushing them to take their own lives rather than face long imprisonment and the confiscation of wealth.

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