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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 February 2007, 05:42 GMT
Fire kills detainees in S Korea
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A dawn fire at a detention centre in South Korea has killed at least nine Chinese and Uzbek nationals, and injured 17 others.

The fire broke out at the centre in the town of Yeosu, 450km (280 miles) south of the capital, Seoul.

Police say deaths may increase, as some of the injured are in a critical state.

The centre was holding about 50 illegal immigrants from south-east Asia and China who were awaiting deportation from South Korea.

The fire started on the third floor of the four-storey building, but the cause is not yet clear. More than 100 firefighters were needed to quell the blaze.

Gutted remains

The authorities said those who died appeared to have been killed from smoke inhalation, reports the BBC's Seoul correspondent Charles Scanlon.

The rest of the detainees have been rescued from the building.

Television pictures showed the gutted remains of the buildings and the cells in which the immigrants had been held, our correspondent said.

South Korea has been a magnet for industrial workers from other Asian countries because of its relatively high wages, with the government carrying out periodic crackdowns to expel those who have violated the country's immigration laws.

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