A total of 49 government officials and staff members at a chemical factory have been jailed for their role in last year’s massive explosions at a warehouse in Tianjin which killed 173 people.
Yu Xuewei, the chairman of Ruihai Logistics, was one of those jailed, receiving a suspended death sentence and a 700,000 yuan fine for his role in his firm’s illegal operations which investigators say lead to the disaster. Yue was found guilty of bribing government officials with 157,500 yuan in cash and goods in order to sidestep safety regulations and store massive amounts of hazardous chemicals at his company’s warehouse, China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported.
This February, just in time for the whole country to shut down for the long Chinese New Year holiday, the Chinese government finally released its report on the explosions. Investigators said that more than 11,300 tons of hazardous goods were illegally stored at the Ruihai warehouse on the night of the explosions. That number included over 1,000 tons of “highly explosive and combustible” substances including 800 tons of ammonium nitrate, 680 tons of sodium cyanide, and 290 tons of nitro-cotton.
The report estimated that the explosions caused 6.87 billion yuan ($1.04 billion) in losses, damaging or destroying 304 buildings, 12,428 vehicles and 7,533 containers, while killing 173 people and injuring 798.
In the end, 24 company managers and staff members as well as 25 government officials were found guilty of various crimes at trials in Tianjin from November 7th to 9th. Most of them received prison terms lasting from three to ten years for crimes such as abuse of power, illegally storing dangerous substances, and accepting bribes.
[Images via Xinhua]