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Doubt cast over Tianjin explosion site's permits and licenses

The warehouse where a series of explosions occurred in Tianjin last week had false owners and suspicious permits and licenses, a Xinhua News Agency investigation has found.

Xinhua carried out interviews with Tianjin Rui Hai International Logistics' executives, who are currently in police custody.

The interviews revealed that the company misrepresented its major shareholders, who used a family member and a schoolmate as proxies to hold the shares.

While not specifically mentioning any bribery or impropriety, one executive state that he did use connections in the fire and police departments to obtain necessary certifications.

Warehouses with dangerous contents should be sited 1 km from residential property and transport hubs, but the warehouse was 560 m from a residential block and 630 m from a train station.

The investigation also revealed that the company handled hazardous chemicals from October 2014 to June 2015 without proper licenses, a practice one owner stated is common.

The official death toll from the Tianjin blast has reached 114, with people still reported missing.

Posted 19 August 2015

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