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BEIJING: A fire tore through a karaoke lounge in southern China on Tuesday, killing 18 people and injuring another five in a suspected arson case, police and state media said

The blaze took place after midnight in a three-story building in Qingyuan City, Guangdong province, and was put out shortly before 1:00 am local time, according to the police.

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A preliminary investigation found that the fire was caused by arson, the Qingyuan public security department said on its Weibo social media account.

“The public security authorities are stepping up their investigation,” it said.

The police statement did not describe the location of the fire but the official Xinhua news agency said it occurred in a KTV house, or karaoke lounge.

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