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UPDATE: Police arrest owner of Bangladesh factory

The death toll has now reached 363 but is expected to rise.

Bangladeshi relatives of missing workers in a building that collapsed on Wednesday comfort each other in Savar.
Bangladeshi relatives of missing workers in a building that collapsed on Wednesday comfort each other in Savar.
Image: Kevin Frayer/AP/Press Association Images

BANGLADESH POLICE HAVE arrested owner of a factory in a garment block that collapsed last week, killing at least 367 people.

“He has been arrested and will be tried,” the country’s deputy home minister Shamsul Haque Tuku told reporters, referring to Sohel Rana, allegedly a ruling party official, whose building violated the country’s construction code.

The head of the country’s Rapid Action Battalion police force, Mukhlesur Rahman, told AFP: “Rana has been arrested from the Benapole border. He’s being flown back to Dhaka in a helicopter.”

Benapole is Bangladesh’s main border post with India.

Three owners of factories inside the destroyed eight-storey Rana Plaza building were arrested on Saturday and face charges of “causing death due to negligence”.

Separately, police are also searching for the Spanish businessman and part-owner of the factory.

David Mayor is the managing director of the Phantom-Tac apparel factory, a joint Spanish-Bangladeshi venture that was housed in the eight-storey Rana Plaza, which imploded last Wednesday.

Police told AFP on Sunday they had filed preliminary charges of “causing death due to negligence” against him and the owners of another four manufacturing firms inside the illegally built block.

The case was filed after survivors told police how managers had forced them to return to work on Wednesday despite an evacuation the day before caused by the building developing visible cracks.

Speaking to AFP in 2009, Mayor explained that he ran the factory and a training centre for women in rural Bangladesh and said his group was run ethically.

“We are a factory. Prices are tight. Every single cent is important. We are not an NGO, but in addition we have this social concern,” he had said at the time.

His whereabouts are currently unknown, but he faces up to five years in jail if convicted in Bangladesh.

© AFP, 2013

Earlier: No more ‘cries for help’ as hopes for survivors fade at Bangladesh building

Related: ‘Stench of dead bodies is so strong’ says Bangladesh building rescuers

Read: Safety inspectors ‘ignored cracks’ at collapsed clothing factory in Bangladesh >

More: Supplier to Penneys based in Bangladesh building that collapsed, claiming 87 lives >

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