China’s Tianjin courts have meted out a suspended death sentence to the head of a Chinese logistics firm and jailed 48 others for their involvement in the deadly explosion at Tianjin port last year, which left 165 people dead and eight missing.
Yu Xuewei, chairman of Tianjin Dongjiang Port Ruihai International Logistics Co, was sentenced to death by Tianjin High Court with a two-year reprieve after being found guilty of bribing government officials, obtaining certificates by illegal means to store hazardous chemicals at a warehouse in Tianjin port, and providing fake environmental assessment papers, according to court papers.
Under Chinese law, a suspended death sentences commonly refers to life imprisonment.
Tianjin No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court and other local courts also handed down prison terms ranging from one year to life for another 48 people.
The courts said officials at Tianjin’s transport, port, customs, workplace safety supervision and maritime departments showed serious negligence of duty in their jobs, with some taking bribes and issuing unlawful permits, leading to the disaster on 12 August 2015.
The devastating blast was caused by hazardous goods stored in a chemical warehouse of Tianjin port. The explosion destroyed 304 buildings, 12,428 vehicles, 7,533 containers, and incurred economic losses of nearly RMB7bn ($1bn), as well as contaminating the air, water and soil in the surrounding areas.
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