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Tuesday, 25 September, 2001, 09:13 GMT 10:13 UK
Explosives killer executed in China
Soldiers pull people out of the wreckage of a bombed building in Shijiazhuang
More than 100 people were killed in bombings in March
The Chinese authorities have executed a man convicted of detonating a stockpile of illegal explosives, killing at least 47 people.

The man, Ma Hongqing, 51, was shot immediately after being sentenced at a public rally in Shaanxi province in central China, where the blast happened in July.

Reports in the Chinese media say Mr Ma blew up the explosives, belonging to a rival illegal producer, after failing in an attempt to steal them.

Correspondents say police across China have been ordered to take measures against illegal manufacturers of explosives.

Grudge

The official Chinese news agency, Xinhua, reported at the time that Ma Hongqing was heavily in debt and had "long-running" conflicts with his neighbours.


On 16 July, after failing to steal explosives belonging to one of his neighbours, Ma Shiping, he threw a detonator into the house where they stored.

The explosion flattened the farming village of Mafang. Some reports put the death toll as high as 80, with about 100 people injured.

Police originally blamed Ma Shiping for the blast, saying he had illegally stored the explosives in the village after his factory was shut down.

A two-week investigation suggested Ma Shiping, the original suspect, could not have caused the blast and suspicion fell on Ma Hongqing.

Common problem

Illegal explosives are commonly used in mining and to clear fields for farming in China, making them easily available for criminal use.

Deadly blasts
March, Shijiazhuang: 108 killed by homemade bombs
March, Jiangxi: 42 students and teachers killed; cause disputed
July, Shaanxi: At least 47 killed and 85 wounded, allegedly by bomber with a grudge
A man was executed for a series of explosions that killed more than 100 people in the northern city of Shijiazhuang earlier this year.

Two women who supplied him with the explosives were also put to death, and fourth person was sentenced to life imprisonment.

An explosion in a school in the southern province of Jiangxi killed 42 teachers and students within days of the Shijiazhuang bombings.

Officials said a madman was responsible for that blast, but some parents of victims said their children had been forced to make illegal explosives at the school.

See also:

16 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Dozens killed in China blast
29 Apr 01 | Asia-Pacific
Three executed over China blasts
17 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
China says 108 killed in blasts
08 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
'Madman' blamed for China school blast
07 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
Fireworks blamed for China school deaths
02 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
China closes fireworks factories
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