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Inspectors locked up at Shandong plant

2017-04-18 07:26:00 (Beijing Time)         Chinadaily.com.cn

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Environmental protection and urban patrol officers seize equipment at a boiler factory of Shandong Lyujie Green Technology Co in Jinan, Shandong province, on Monday. The company was shut down after environmental protection inspectors were locked in a section of the plant for more than an hour on Sunday.Xu Suhui / Xinhua

Factory hiding coal-fired boiler resists environmental oversight; boss detained

Two people at a boiler factory in Jinan, Shandong province, were detained after they locked environmental protection inspectors in a section of the plant for more than an hour, the city government said on Monday. The plant has been shut down.

An inspection team found on Sunday that the plant, owned by Shandong Lyujie Green Technology Co, has a coal-fired boiler that should have been phased out, and it didn't install any equipment to reduce dust and other discharges.

The manager, Wang Kaisheng, refused to provide any information and instead locked the inspection team inside the plant until police came to rescue them, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said on Sunday.

"Hindering the enforcement of environmental protection laws is a vicious act with an extremely negative influence," the statement from the Jinan government said, adding that it will deal with the event seriously.

Jinan's public security authorities decided on Monday to punish Wang with 10 days of administrative detention, along with giving seven days' detention to Yu Fengbao, an employee at the plant, for interfering with law enforcement.

The plant has stopped production and the boiler was removed, the government statement said.

After the incident, the city ordered all companies and departments to support the environmental inspections.

It's not the first time inspectors have been trapped or beaten during regular inspections in China since the country's environmental authorities have tightened their supervision in recent years - which has included shutting down polluting companies.

In March, four inspectors checked a plant with many pollution records in Dangshan county of Suzhou, Anhui province, but were beaten by the plant's owner. Two of the inspectors received serious injuries, according to the provincial environmental authorities. The owner was detained by the police.

In another case, a man surnamed Liu was sentenced to a year and three months in prison in August for obstructing officers in their duties in Jinan. He led a group of people to beat environmental inspectors when they checked dust pollution levels in September 2015.

The inspectors who were locked in the plant on Sunday were taking part in the first of 25 rounds of inspections headed by the ministry, which has sent teams to 28 major cities, including Beijing and Tianjin, and the provinces of Hebei, Shandong, Shanxi and Henan. A total of 5,600 inspectors will take part in the yearlong sweep, making it largest single effort to date.

From April 8 to 15, the teams checked 2,301 companies and construction sites, of which 1,621 were found to be violating laws and regulations, including illegal and excessive emissions and falsified monitoring data.

All the exposed violations, especially those of small polluting companies, are subject to tough punishments, including possible shutdowns, according to the ministry.

Contact the writers at zhengjinran@chinadaily.com.cn