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Ship Collision Suspects Detained

Guan Zeqiang and Chen Songgao, both in their 20s, have been detained for their alleged role in the collision into the anchored vessel Changyang, causing the leakage of 94 tons of diesel oil into the Huangpu River in the early morning of August 5, according to the Shanghai Maritime Administration.

The oil spill was considered the most serious case in Shanghai since 1949 as it posed a great threat to the city's water supply.

The two suspects were caught on the afternoon of August 18 in their hometown -- Changxing County of Huzhou, Zhejiang Province -- by the local Public Security Division with the cooperation of the Shanghai police.

Guan, the boat owner, and Chen who worked for him, have both allegedly admitted to their crime which was due to malpractice.

After they fled back to their hometown, the culprits had the damaged fore of their boat -- which had collided into the Changyang -- removed and the boat was repainted and repaired.

The two men also sunk the broken fore of the boat, but were later reported to the police, who had offered a 20,000 yuan (US$2,420) reward.

Guan and Chen were brought to Shanghai on Tuesday morning together with the fore that has been fished out of the water.

The two have now been detained for further investigation by the division and they will soon be taken to the city for trial.

According to maritime laws, they are likely to be jailed for seven years or more and their steel boat with a dead weight of 295 tons is worth about 1 million yuan (US$121,000).

(China Daily August 21, 2003)

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