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16 Mar 2023

Nazarudin Latif and Pizaro Gozali Idrus, BenarNews (USA)

Indonesia: Three Chinese coal mine workers die from suspected gas poisoning

See all tags Allegations

"3 Chinese workers die in Indonesia coal mine from suspected gas poisoning" 16 March 2023

Three Chinese workers died in a coal mining tunnel in Indonesia’s South Kalimantan province of suspected gas poisoning, police said Thursday, in another incident highlighting allegedly poor labor conditions at Chinese-owned companies in the country.

The workers who died Monday were employed at a Chinese-owned coal mine, PT Sumber Daya Energi, in Kotabaru, a regency South Kalimantan province, police said.

Jinxiang Yao, 51, Xuecen Tiang, 41, and Lizie Day, 45, were employed as underground mining specialists and project managers, police said.

South Kalimantan police spokesman Mochamad Rifa’i said a team is investigating the deaths, while Kotabaru police confirmed the cause was poison gas based on a medical examination result.

“The focus of the investigation is to determine whether there was a criminal element in the death of the three foreigners,” Rifa’i told reporters in Kotabaru.

He said the three bodies were at a police-owned hospital in Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan, for autopsies.  

Kotabaru Police Chief Gafur Aditya Siregar, said the victims had been found around 2 a.m. Monday.

A total of 13 workers had been in the tunnel when a sensor signaling toxic gas went off. The rest of the workers got out of the tunnel but the victims could not be located, Gafur said. A search party later found their bodies 1.3 km. (0.8 miles) underground.

The deaths shed light on China’s increasing presence in Indonesia’s industrial sector. [...]