TIANJIN, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) -- Courts in north China's Tianjin Municipality on Wednesday sentenced 49 people to prison, including 24 company managers and staff members as well as 25 government officials found guilty of various crimes that led to the city's warehouse blasts, which killed at least 165 people in August 2015.
The suspects were tried by The Second Intermediate People's Court of Tianjin and nine other grass-roots courts from Nov. 7 to Nov. 9. As the rulings were made on Wednesday, all suspects agreed with the verdicts and expressed remorse, sources with the Higher People's Court of Tianjin said.
On Aug. 12, 2015, a series of explosions ripped through a warehouse of Ruihai Logistics Co. Ltd. (Ruihai Logistics) in Tianjin Port, leaving 165 people dead, eight missing, and 798 injured. The blasts also damaged 304 buildings, 12,428 cars, and 7,533 containers, incurring economic losses amounting to 6.87 billion yuan (1.01 billion U.S. dollars).
The court found Yu Xuewei, chairman of Ruihai Logistics, guilty of bribing port administration officials with cash and goods worth 157,500 yuan (23,333 U.S. dollars) 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 safety evaluation company that provided Ruihai Logistics counterfeit safety reports were also jailed.
Twenty five officials, including head of Tianjin Municipal Transportation Commission Wu Dai, were sentenced to prison terms lasting from three to seven years for dereliction of duty, abuse of power, and accepting bribes.