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10 bosses detained in pollution crackdown

Xinhua, December 18, 2015 Adjust font size:

Chinese police have detained 10 company heads for fabricating pollution data as the nation extends a crackdown on environment-related crimes.

The suspects are from eight companies, including a sewage plant in the southern city of Dongguan and a Gansu-based joint venture with Coca-Cola investment. They are accused of using fake figures to swindle pollution treatment subsidies, manipulating environment monitoring results or hindering such monitoring, the Ministry of Environment said Thursday. The ministry reported the cases to the police as it does not have the right to detain people.

Some of them may face criminal lawsuits, according to the ministry. According to Chinese law, environment pollution convicts can be given a prison term up to seven years.

To encourage pollution treatment, the Chinese government has offered considerable subsidies.

The plant in Dongguan fabricated the volume of pollution it treated, inflating the number to gain an extra 20 million yuan (3.1 mln U.S. dollars) in such subsidies.

It also illegally pumped running water into its sewers to dilute waste water and make it "look clean," saving costs and cheating the environment test authorities, the ministry said, adding the violation is "extremely serious."

The ministry said it has started a special inspection over environment fraud since July and used new technologies to detect wrongdoings, such as drones.