CHINA COURT HANDS DEATH SENTENCE OVER WAREHOUSE BLASTS
November 9, 2016: A chairman of a Chinese logistics company was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve in relation to massive warehouse explosions that left 173 people dead last year in a northern port city.
State news agency Xinhua reported that Yu Xuewei of Ruihai Logistics was among 49 people who were handed prison terms for various crimes suspected to have led to the disaster in Tianjin.
Of those sentenced by the Second Intermediate People's Court of Tianjin and nine other courts, 25 were government officials and 24 company managers and staff members.
Yu was convicted of bribing port administration officials to be granted a certificate for handling hazardous chemicals, as well as being found guilty of illegal storage of hazardous materials, illegal business operations and âcausing incidents involving hazardous materialsâ.
Meanwhile, Ruihai Logisticsâ deputy chairman and general manager and three other employees were handed terms of between 15 years to life in prison.
The 25 government officials -- among them Tianjin Municipal Transportation Commission chief Wu Dai -- were sentenced to terms ranging from three to seven years on charges of abuse of power, accepting bribes and dereliction of duty.
More than 100 firefighters were killed and 798 other people injured in the Aug. 12, 2015 explosions at the warehouse, which damaged 304 buildings including two residential compounds and more than 12,400 vehicles and 7,500 containers, according to state media.
More than 6.8 billion yuan ($1 billion) in economic losses were recorded.
Around 40 substances, including sodium cyanide, potassium nitrate and ammonium nitrate were being kept at the site. Inflammable materials accounted for 500 tons and highly toxic substances for 700 tons. (Sources: aa.com.tr, 09/11/2016)