Thursday, January 22, 2009

Three Death Sentences in Chinese Milk Scandal

The New York Times - BEIJING — A group of high-ranking dairy company executives and middlemen were sentenced by a Chinese court on Thursday to long jail terms, life in prison and, for three individuals, the death penalty for endangering public safety last year by selling and producing tainted milk products, according to the state-run news media.

The court said members of the group had intentionally produced and sold fake or substandard dairy products laced with a toxic chemical called melamine, which the government says sickened about 300,000 children and caused the death of at least six in one of the worst food safety scandals in China in decades.

The harshest sentences were given to Zhang Yujun, a dairy middleman who the government called one of the “principal criminals” in the scandal. He was sentenced to death after being convicted of selling 600 tons of melamine-tainted “protein powder” to dairy companies.

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