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November 25, 2009

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2 executed over lethal additives to milk

TWO men were executed in northern China yesterday for their part in the country's contaminated milk scandal, in which at least six infants died and more than 300,000 became ill.

Zhang Yujun was executed for endangering public safety by dangerous means, and Geng Jinping was put to death for producing and selling toxic food, an intermediate court in Hebei's provincial capital of Shijiazhuang said.

Zhang was found guilty of producing more than 770 tons and selling more than 600 tons of melamine-laced protein powder from July 2007 to August 2008.

Geng was convicted of selling more than 900 tons of milk with 434 kilograms of tainted protein powder to the now-defunct Sanlu Group.

The two lodged appeals after the Shijiazhuang Intermediate People's Court sentenced them to death on January 21, and the Hebei Higher People's Court upheld the convictions on March 26.

Sanlu Group, which was based in Shijiazhuang had been China's leading seller of milk powder for 15 years until the melamine scandal broke in September last year.

Twenty-one people were tried and sentenced in Shijiazhuang in January for their roles in the scandal. Two were sentenced to death, one received a suspended death sentence, three were jailed for life, and the other 15 were imprisoned for two to 15 years.

The harsh sentences underscored China's resolve in tackling recurring food safety problems, officials said.


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