A food plant worker in China, frustrated over his wages and in a dispute over the treatment of his wife, says he poisoned frozen gyoza that reached Japan to get his managers’ attention.
39-year-old Lu Yueting confessed in court to the crime that sickened 10 people in Japan, spoiling relations ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Lu stood trial in Shijiazhang, Hebei province, nearly five years after the incident that triggered a scare over the safety of Chinese food products.
Millions of bags of dumplings were recalled and Chinese food products were taken off shelves in Japan after 10 Japanese nationals fell ill after eating tainted gyoza. Four Chinese people were also sickened.
Lu was arrested in 2010 on accusations he contaminated the dumplings produced at the Tianyang Food plant.
He reportedly injected methamidophos, a type of pesiticide, into frozen dumplings using a syringe, according to China Daily.
Lu had been seeking revenge for his wife, who did not receive a bonus payment when she took maternity leave, Kyodo reports.
In his first appearance in court Tuesday, Lu apologized to the victims. Japanese officials and reporters were present during the trial session.
China Daily said Lu is likely to be handed at least 10 years in prison, although the date of the ruling is yet to be announced.
Kyodo news said the verdict may further hurt relations between two of Asia’s biggest economies amid already strained ties over a bitter maritime row.
by Maesie Bertumen
Image: Daniel Go/Flickr