58 Receive Penalties over Fatal Landslide in China
    2010-09-30 19:29:49     Xinhua      Web Editor: Zhang Zhang
 
Local courts in north China's Shanxi Province Thursday handed down sentences to 58 people after they were held responsible for a landslide at an illegal iron ore mine that killed 277 in 2008.

Of the 58, 34 were officials, including several senior county, municipal and provincial officials.

Fifteen courts in Shanxi delivered the sentences.

Zhang Peiliang, the iron ore mine's owner, received death penalty with a two-year reprieve.

Zhang was sentenced for illegally purchasing and selling up to 4,399.63 kg explosives, illegally operating the unlicensed mine, paying bribes of more than 20 million yuan (about 2.98 million U.S. dollars) and causing the accident, the Intermediate People's Court of Linfen City said.

Duan Bo, former police head of Yuncheng City, was sentenced to life imprisonment for taking bribes of more than 24.4 million yuan (3.64 million U.S. dollars). The Intermediate People's Court of Taiyuan City also ordered he be stripped of all his assets.

Zhou Jie, Linfen City's former vice mayor, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for taking bribes of more than 2.3 million yuan (343,796 U.S. dollars) by the Intermediate People's Court of Shuozhou City.

The others were each sentenced to terms of between one year with probation to up to 20 years imprisonment for either taking bribes or dereliction of duty.

A pile of iron ore at the mine collapsed on Sept. 8, 2008, in Xiangfen County, Linfen City, triggering a landslide that destroyed a village, an office building and a busy outdoor market.

On Dec. 3, 2008, the government put the death toll at 277 and said another four were still missing. The accident led to the resignation of Meng Xuenong, the then governor of Shanxi.

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