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Former Chinese official commits suicide following landslide disaster in Shenzhen

An official in charge of regulating the waste dump linked to a massive landslide in China has killed himself. A dozen other people have reportedly been arrested.

Chinese police reported on Monday that the former head of a key urban enforcement agency linked to a deadly landslide in Shenzhen had committed suicide. The news came just before Chinese police announced they had arrested 12 people in connection with the landslide.

The man, identified only by his surname Xu, was in charge of the southern industrial city's Urban Management Bureau, which was responsible for regulating a waste dump that collapsed more than a week ago and possibly triggered a

deadly landslide

that killed at least 70 people. A social media post from local police suggested that Xu had jumped to his death from a building.

Later on Monday, authorities said they had taken "coercive measures" against a dozen people. Among those detained were local officials and employees of the waste dump, according to the German news agency DPA.

Fear of government retribution

The Chinese government has not yet blamed anyone for the deadly landslide, and it's unknown if Xu was being investigated by authorities. It was also unclear if he had resigned from his post or been forced to step down, although Chinese officials said he had been replaced months ago.

Beijing is known for severely punishing officials in a country with a track record for poor infrastructure and frequent man-made disasters. On

Sunday

, the owner of a collapsed mine in Shandong province reportedly drowned himself during rescue efforts for the 17 miners still trapped beneath ground.

China has warned that those responsible for the landslide in Shenzhen will receive harsh punishment.

blc/msh (Reuters, AP, AFP)

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