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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 December 2007, 14:28 GMT
Carrefour apologises over deaths
Crowds at Chongqing Carrefour
People continued to gather at the shop even after the stampede
French retail giant Carrefour has apologised after three people died in a stampede in one of its supermarkets in China, official Chinese reports say.

Carrefour has also been fined 500,000 yuan (about $68,000; 34,000) for the incident in the city of Chongqing in which 31 people were also injured.

A Carrefour security officer has been arrested, and other employees punished.

People had flocked to the shop in November after being attracted by a big discount on cooking oil.

Prices have soared by more than a third in the past year.

Emergency ban

A crowd that had been waiting hours for the shop to open burst through the doors.

The security officer tried to block the entry with a table - setting off the stampede.

map

The promotion was part of a three-day campaign in November marking 10 years since Carrefour had opened in Chongqing.

The Chinese government subsequently issued an emergency ban on shops offering time-limited promotions.

Chinese reports say Carrefour said it took responsibility for the incident and would learn from it.

They said the shop was responsible because of the way the emergency was mishandled, and because of a lack of accident prevention measures.

Carrefour entered the Chinese market in 1995 and has since opened more than 100 supermarkets.



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