06/15/2016, 14.07
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74 arrested in Inner Mongolia for killing miners in fake accidents

by John Ai

The authorities have charged a large gang, originally from Yunnan, with having deliberately killed miners in small illegal quarries, by simulating accidents to demand compensation from the owners. After beating the victims, they threw mining carts on them to simulate collapsed shafts or explosions; then, disguised as relatives, negotiated the compensation and cremated the bodies. The ashes were thrown into the water. At least 17 confirmed dead.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The judicial authorities of Inner Mongolia have charged 74 people with murder, fraud and extortion. The gang allegedly killed at least 17 miners to fake accidents in small illegal quarries and to obtain the compensation from the state or mine owners. The investigation has been ongoing since 2014, when a series of murders sparked police suspicions.

The first recorded case was of a miner from Yunnan, who died two years ago in an alleged accident at work. The manager of the mine did not report the death to the authorities, choosing to pay 680 thousand yuan (about 91 thousand euro) as compensation to the family members. After paying, however, he had no money for the salaries of the other miners. This sparked a controversy that, in turn, attracted the attention of the police.

According to an article in Caixin, the arrested cheated the miners for profit. The preferred victims were migrants or people with mental problems. The gang was highly organized: Some members were in charge of locating the mines suitable to stage accidents, mainly small and illegal operations, in the most remote areas of the country. Others beat the workers to death and staged the accidents.

Investigators note that their methods were "cruel: they beat the victims to unconscious and then threw mine carts on them, or stoned them. In this way they could declare that the deaths were caused by collapsed shafts or internal explosions ".

After executing their plan, other members of the group presented themselves to the owner of the mine pretending to be relatives of the deceased. The owners, given their illegal status, preferred to cover up the incident by paying: the figures ranged from 500 thousand to 800 thousand yuan (67 thousand to 107 thousand EUR). The body was sent to the nearest crematorium and the "relatives" left with the money and the funerary urn.

Once gathered at a hotel, the gang shared the proceeds and threw the ashes of the victim in the toilet, then started looking for another mine. The most frequently targeted were those of Shanxi, Shaanxi and Inner Mongolia. Most of those arrested originate from Yanjin County, Yunnan.

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