Chen Hong (
Source of Article: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2009-01/07/content_7373442.htm
SHENZHEN: A man was sentenced to death on Monday and three others were punished for their involvement in a food poisoning incident last year that killed two people and put 63 others in hospital in the city in February, local media reported yesterday.
Ke Bizhi was sentenced to death at the Shenzhen Intermediate People's Court, while his associate Zhang Zhenhua was given a 15-year jail term as he provided police with information that led to Ke's arrest, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported.
Wang Yingde, who worked for Ke, was given the death sentence with a two-year reprieve, while the scheme's mastermind Zhu Yuanlin got life imprisonment.
Ke, Wang and Zhu have filed appeals to the high court.
According to prosecutors, Zhu had invested in a market and wanted to eradicate his competition.
On Feb 20, he reached a deal with Zhang to poison customers at restaurants in a rival market.
In return, Zhang was given a 500,000-yuan ($73,100) waiver on his rent on a skating rink within Zhu's market.
Zhang sent Ke, his partner in the rink, to buy sodium nitrite, a toxic chemical, and Wang, at Ke's request, sneaked into two restaurants on Feb 23 and "threw the chemical around".
Sixty-five people, mostly employees of a local factory, were poisoned while eating at the restaurants. A 21-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman died.
Police detected sodium nitrite in the water collected from the restaurants' drains and on napkins.
The chemical was also found on the kitchen ranges.
Based on the evidence, police suspected some of food could have been contaminated by sodium nitrite.
Zhang, Ke and Wang pleaded guilty to the crime, but said they did not know sodium nitrite was toxic.
"I thought the chemical would just give people diarrhea," Zhang told the court.
And Wang said he "just followed his boss's instructions", without knowing what he was throwing in the restaurants.
(China Daily 01/07/2009 page4
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