Fresh investigation ordered into deadly Vietnam rockslide

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A court in the central province of Nghe An has ordered a fresh investigation into a rockslide that killed 18 people and injured six others at a stone mining site last year, VnExpress reported.

At the trial Tuesday, the Nghe An People's Court said there was evidence that more offenders had been left out of the case, while 48-year-old Phan Cong Chin, who ran Chin Men Ltd. Co., the owner of the Len Co mining site, stood trial as the only defendant.

According to the indictment, the company did not quarry rocks downwards as regulated, but mined at the foot of the mountain, triggering the rockslide on April 1.

Prosecutors also charged Chin with failing to guarantee labor safety and apply measures to limit the mining's negative impact on the environment, VnExpress reported.

They proposed a 30-month suspended sentence for Chin

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Earlier, six local officials, including Phan The Trung, chairman of Nam Thanh Commune's People's Committee, and Nguyen Trong Luong, chief inspector of Nghe An Department of Industry and Trade, were investigated on charges of "lacking responsibility resulting in serious consequences."

The officials were accused of detecting violations by Chin Men long before the accident happened, but failing to address them properly.

However, the investigation was suspended because they "did not have expertise and skills in mining and had good records," according to court documents.

At the trial, the court also said that although the officials had to share at least part of responsibilities, their mistakes were not so critical that they had to face criminal charges, according to the Vnexpress report.

Trung told the court that he allowed the company to keep operating the mine despite the violations, because "if the mine was suspended, local people would become jobless and poor."

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