Chinese police nabs foreman, rescues another 20 slave workers

By Xinhua

Taiyuan : Police has captured a foreman of slave workers and rescued another 20 slave laborers at brick kilns and other illegal workplaces in north China's Shanxi province, said a provincial public security official on Saturday.

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    Heng Tinghan, accused of employing slave laborers in a brick kiln in Shanxi since March, was captured by police in Danjiangkou City of Hubei Province Saturday evening.

    Heng, 42, was a native of Henan. One of the slave workers has died and 20 others were injured.

    To date 351 people, including 22 under the age of 18, were freed in Shanxi, bringing the total number of slave workers rescued in China to 568, including 217 freed in the neighboring Henan Province, said a spokesman with Shanxi Provincial Public Security Bureau in a statement.

    The rescue came after Shanxi launched a large-scale crackdown operation on various brick kilns, coal and iron mines and other illegal workplaces that involved some 20,000 police officers.

    Wang Dongji, Party branch secretary of Caosheng Village, Shanxi, is being investigated after his son was found to be an owner of the illegal brick kiln who forced 32 people to work under extremely cruel conditions.

    Wang Bingbing, the kiln owner, and four taskmasters have been detained. Heng was the contractor of Wang's kiln. Police are hunting for two other suspects.

    A few county-level officials involved in the case are also being investigated.

    By Saturday, Shanxi police have detained 25 suspects involved in the case.