Police in central Vietnam on Wednesday began investigating the death of a Chinese national in an illegal land mine whose owner, Duc Long Gia Lai Group, claimed it did not employed the victim.
He Mao Xian, 30, was rushed to the hospital of Ayun Pa Town, Gia Lai Province, on Dec. 23 evening with multiple injuries, to which he succumbed soon after.
Witnesses told Gia Lai police that Xian and some other miners were working in a lead-zinc mine in Chu Mo Commune earlier that day when part of the mine collapsed on him. Other miners managed to escape.
According to local authorities, Duc Long Gia Lai's mining work was illegal since its license for this mine had been suspended.
Tuoi Tre newspaper quoted a provincial police official as saying that the People's Committee of Gia Lai had suspended the mine operations before the accident.
"Duc Long Gia Lai ignored the province's decision and brought workers here to operate illegally," the official was quoted as saying.
Xian and his brother, hailing from Guangdong in China, and two other Chinese workers were working at the mine when the accident happened. None of them had a working permit, local police said.
However, a representative of Duc Long Gia Lai at the mine claimed that the Chinese nationals were not employed yet.
They were "waiting for immigration (sic) paperwork to be done. They are not working in the mine," the representative was quoted by Tuoi Tre as saying.
Pham Anh Hung, CEO of Duc Long Gia Lai even claimed that his company "does not know this worker [Xian]."
"He probably came from somewhere else to this mine when the accident took place."
Started up as a wood and furniture company based in Gia Lai Province, Duc Long Gia Lai has expanded to other fields, including real estates and hydropower.