A Chinese court on Monday sentenced a 39-year-old man to life in prison for poisoning frozen “gyoza” dumplings that made more than a dozen people sick in Japan and China.
Lu Yueting, a worker at the Tianyang Food factory in China’s Hebei province, admitted last year to injecting insecticide into frozen dumplings that were exported to Japan in 2008.
Allegedly driven by his frustration with his wages and colleagues, Lu used a syringe to inject methamidophos, a highly toxic pesticide, into the dumplings. Lu said he bore no ill will against Japan.
Lu said he wanted to draw management’s attention to his dissatisfaction over working conditions at the factory, where he was treated as a temporary worker for about 15 years.
At least 10 people, including a 5-year-old girl, fell sick in Japan and four in China after consuming the dumplings, triggering a blame game between Bejing and Tokyo amid already strained relations.
The food company was forced to shut the plant following the incident. Lu was put on trial in July 2013.
“There is no room for leniency,” the Shijiazhuang Intermediate People’s Court said in handing down the ruling against Lu.
The verdict comes at a time of renewed tensions between the two nations over a bitter territorial dispute in the East China Sea.
By Maesie Bertumen