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Chinese man gets life sentence for poisoning dumplings
Publication Date : 21-01-2014
A Hebei court sentenced a man on Monday to life in prison for injecting pesticide into dumplings, sickening 13 people in China and Japan from 2007 to 2008.
The Shijiazhuang Intermediate People's Court delivered the verdict on Monday morning. More than 50 people, including Japanese diplomats, attended.
Lyu Yueting, a former worker at the Tianyang Food Plant in Hebei province, was convicted of injecting methamidophos, a pesticide, into dumplings in 2007.
Lyu committed the crime several times with long-term planning and he jeopardised food safety and the health of an unspecified number of people causing serious consequences, prosecutors said.
The court handed out the life sentence because Lyu's act "a malicious crime intentionally harming other's health and safety".
From late 2007 and early 2008, one person fell seriously ill after eating the dumplings, six experienced minor sickness and six became slightly unwell, according to the court.
They developed symptoms including vomiting and diarrhoea, and one even became unconscious.
Lyu, 39, who started working for the company in 1993, poisoned the dumplings to gain management's attention and create an opportunity to request a salary increase and welfare benefits, the court said.
"I was paid a Spring Festival bonus of only 100 yuan (US$16.50) in 2007, while other contracted workers received thousands. I thought I deserved higher pay as I had worked for the company for so long. I hoped the management would pay attention to people like me," Lyu said at his trial on July 30.
From July to August 2007, Lyu entered the factory's refrigerated storage twice to attempt to poison the dumplings using a 5-millilitre syringe, but failed.
He then changed the syringe's capacity to 10 ml and re-entered the storage three more times from October to December 2007 to inject the poison successfully, according to the court.
Some of the poisoned dumplings were exported to Japan, where nine people fell ill.
The other four poisonings were reported in Chengde, Hebei province.
Tianyang suspended production and recalled its products, causing a loss of 5.5 million yuan as of Jan 28, 2010.
Lyu was detained in March 2010 by Chinese police after a two-year investigation.
Lyu confessed to poisoning the dumplings in court on July 30, 2013.
Reports of the incident broke in January 2008, sparking worldwide concern over food safety in China before the Beijing Olympics.
The poisoned dumplings also led to Japanese consumers boycotting frozen food from China.