Beijing: Courts in north China's Tianjin city today sent 49 people to prison, including 25 government officials, for last year's deadly warehouse blasts which killed 165 people and injured 798 others.
The Second Intermediate People's Court of Tianjin sentenced the 49, including 24 company managers and staff members as well as 25 government officials, after finding them guilty of various crimes that led to the city's warehouse blasts in August, 2015.
As the rulings were made, all accused agreed with the verdicts and expressed remorse, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted officials of Higher People's Court of Tianjin as saying.
A series of explosions on August 12 last year ripped through a warehouse of Ruihai Logistics in Tianjin Port, leaving 165 people dead, eight missing, and 798 injured.
The majority of those killed were firefighting crews who went to douse the flames.
The blasts also damaged 304 buildings, 12,428 cars, and 7,533 containers, incurring economic losses amounting to 6.87 billion yuan (USD 1.01 billion).
The court found Yu Xuewei, chairman of Ruihai Logistics, guilty of bribing port administration officials with cash and goods worth 157,500 yuan (USD 23,333) 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 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, Xinhua reported.
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.