Five more arrested over CCTV blaze

Beijing police have arrested five more people allegedly linked to a spectacular fire that destroyed a building belonging to the China Central Television (CCTV), official media told AFP on Thursday. The five were accused of helping to transport fireworks to the construction site of CCTV’s new Beijing headquarters and helping those who lit them flee police, Xinhua news agency said.

The illegal fireworks display on 9 February started a blaze that lit up Beijing’s skyline and consumed a nearly-completed building that was to house the Mandarin Oriental hotel. A Beijing firefighter was killed fighting the blaze.

Police earlier arrested 12 others suspected of causing the blaze, including Xu Wei, 50, who was in charge of construction at CCTV’s new site. The gutted building sits next to the newly-built CCTV tower, a futurist structure that served as a symbol of China’s modernisation during the August Beijing Olympics. The tower, scheduled to open in October, was not damaged in the blaze.