20 sentenced to prison over deadly 2015 China landslide

BEIJING • Chinese courts have sentenced 19 government officials and a business leader to prison for up to 20 years for their roles in a landslide that killed over 70 people.

The disaster occurred in Shenzhen, a southern boom town bordering Hong Kong, at the end of 2015 when soil illegally piled some 160m high at an old quarry site turned to mud during heavy rain.

Three local courts passed sentences at the end of last month for 45 people who had been charged in connection with the landslide, China's official news agency Xinhua reported late on Friday.

Long Renfu, the boss of Shenzhen Yixianglong, which was responsible for managing the site, was sentenced to 20 years' jail and a fine of 10 million yuan (S$2 million) for negligence and corruption.

The former head of Shenzhen's city administration bureau was also sentenced to 20 years' jail and fined eight million yuan, while an official from Guangming district, where the landslide took place, was given 16 years' jail for taking bribes.

Seventeen other government officials were given prison terms of between three and seven years, while five others received other penalties, the news agency reported.

The incident highlighted the poor industrial safety record in China, where regulations are often loosely enforced by inspectors and sometimes corrupt local authorities.

In August 2015, illegally stocked chemical products caused huge explosions in the northern port of Tianjin, killing at least 165 people.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 07, 2017, with the headline '20 sentenced to prison over deadly 2015 China landslide'. Print Edition | Subscribe