HONG KONG: A fire in southern China at a karaoke TV lounge killed 18 people on Tuesday, according to the official Xinhua news agency, citing local police.
The blaze occurred in Qingyuan city in Guangdong province, around an hour’s drive from the provincial capital of Guangzhou.
According to the official weibo account of police in Qingyuan, the blaze started just after midnight in a three storey building.
The police said it was initially believed the fire was started intentionally by someone and an investigation was now underway. The report gave no further details.
The Qingyuan police said five people were injured.
China has a patchy safety record for building regulations.
Beijing’s municipal government launched a 40-day “special operation” targeting fire code and building safety violations after an apartment fire in the Chinese capital last November killed 19 people, almost all of them migrants.
(Reporting by James Pomfret and Tina Ge in Hong Kong; Editing by Michael Perry)