Blaze kills nine illegal immigrants in South Korea
Two Lankans among 55 in building which caught fire:
SEOUL: At least nine foreign migrants including eight Chinese
were killed and 18 others hurt in a blaze early yesterday at a detention
centre in the South Korean port of Yeosu, local officials said.
The group included 42 Chinese, four from Uzbekistan, two from
Kazahkstan, two from Sri Lanka, and one each from India, Iran,
Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Vietnam.
One Uzbek national was also among the dead in Yeosu, 450 kilometres
south of Seoul.
"The death toll is likely to rise, as 17 of the 18 hurt are in
serious condition. They are being treated in hospital for smoke
inhalation and burns," an immigration official said by phone.
A total of 55 migrants were in custody at the four-storey building at
the time of the pre-dawn blaze. Twenty-eight were rescued by fire
fighters. Kim Dae-Joong, head of the Yeosu fire station, told
journalists that many of the victims had died from inhaling toxic fumes.
The cause of the blaze was not immediately known but police were
investigating the possibility of arson, the Yonhap news agency reported.
The fire was put out about one hour after it broke out, with 120
firefighters and 27 trucks rushing to the scene.
South Korea, Sunday, AFP