The son of a former police bureau chief in Chinese port city of Tianjin was suspected of being a shareholder of the company at the centre of last week’s massive chemical blasts.

The powerful explosions that ripped apart a logistics centre in Tianjin originated from a chemical warehouse under Ruihai International Logistics, a private company which has been accused of violating laws and regulations.

The explosion site is still dangerous as another blast hit Sunday afternoon. Photo: Beijing News,

According to Chinese financial magazine Caijing, Dong Mengmeng—who is the son of former head of Tianjin Port Public Security Bureau Dong Peijun—was a shareholder of Ruihai “for some time in the past.”

The company’s business registry said its current shareholders are Li Liang and Shu Zheng, who hold 55 percent and 45 percent of stakes respectively.

Caijing cited a policeman at the Tianjin Port Public Security Bureau as saying Dong Peijun passed away last year. The policeman also told Caijing that the police knew Dong Mengmeng was son of Dong Peijun.

The chemical explosions tore through a car park nearby. Photo: 新京报

Meanwhile, Sohu News reported Dong Mengmeng used the pseudonym “Dong Ruihai” in his past business dealings, sparking speculations that Ruihai International Logistics was named after him.

Shu Zheng, one of the shareholders, told Tencent News that he is holding the shares “on behalf of a friend” and that he himself has nothing to do with the company. Shu, who claimed to be a government employee, said his friend used his identification to register Ruihai. Shu refused to reveal the friend’s identity.

The 32-year-old told Tencent News he has never held any post at Ruihai, nor has he signed official documents related to Ruihai.

The company’s general manager Zhi Feng was injured in the blast and remained hospitalised in police custody as of Monday.

Ruihai has been accused of violating relevant laws and regulations. The Beijing News reported Ruihai started operating its hazardous chemicals warehouse before it was licensed by authorities to do so. Earlier reports said chemicals the company stored at the Tianjin port exceeded the amount it was allowed to by at least 10 times.

The powerful blasts damaged homes hundreds of metres away. Photo: Nanjing Morning Post.

Tianjin officials have also been accused of possible negligence after residential blocks were found to be just a few hundred metres away from the chemical warehouses.

Vivienne Zeng

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.