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Courts send 49 to prison for massive Tianjin warehouse blasts that killed 165

Updated: Nov 10,2016 7:49 AM     China Daily

Courts in Tianjin sentenced 49 people to prison on Nov 9 — including — who were found guilty of crimes that led to the devastating warehouse blasts that killed at least 165 people in August 2015.

The suspects were tried by the Second Intermediate People’s Court of Tianjin and nine other grassroots courts between Nov 7 and 9. All suspects agreed with the verdicts and expressed remorse as the rulings were read, sources with the Tianjin High People’s Court said.

On Aug 12, 2015, a series of explosions ripped through a warehouse of Ruihai Logistics Co in Tianjin Port, leaving 165 dead, eight missing and 798 injured. The blasts also damaged 304 buildings, 12,428 cars, and 7,533 containers, with total economic losses of 6.87 billion yuan ($1.01 billion).

The court found Ruihai Logistics Chairman Yu Xuewei guilty of bribing port administration officials with cash and goods worth 157,500 yuan to obtain a certificate to handle hazardous chemicals at the port.

Yu was convicted of illegal storage of hazardous materials, illegal business operations, causing incidents involving hazardous materials, and bribery. He was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve.

The deputy chairman and general manager of Ruihai Logistics and three other employees of the company were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 15 years to life. Seven Ruihai Logistics staff members directly responsible for the incident were sentenced to between three and 10 years in prison.

Eleven people with a company that provided counterfeit safety reports also were sent to prison.

Twenty-five officials, including Wu Dai, head of the Tianjin Municipal Transportation Commission, got prison terms of three to seven years for dereliction of duty, abuse of power and taking bribes.