Two men have been sentenced to death, one with a two-year reprieve, for adding poison into food at a snack bar, which killed two diners and poisoned 61 others in south China's Shenzhen City last February, Xinhua reported.
The two, Ke Bizhi and Wang Yingde, had lodged an appeal against the ruling, according to Shenzhen Intermediate People's Court on Monday.
Zhu Yuanlin, a private business owner who masterminded the poisoning was sentenced to life in prison, and his accomplice Zhang Zhenhua, a manager of a Hong Kong-listed BYD Company, was given 15 years. Zhu had appealed while Zhang had not.
Zhu, who owned stores in Longgang District of Shenzhen, masterminded the poisoning to pressure the local government into demolishing a booming marketplace that had taken business from his own stores in the same neighborhood, the court said.
On Feb. 20 last year, Zhu reached a deal with BYD Company's human resources manager Zhang Zhenhua, who would be exempt from a 500,000 yuan (73,166 U.S. dollars) rental fees to run a skating rink.
In exchange, Zhang would have to rid the marketplace by any means possible within four weeks. He talked with his friend Ke Bizhi, a migrant worker, and agreed that massive food poisoning at its eateries would force the government to demolish the market.
As Zhang promised Ke to jointly-run the skating rink, Ke bought sodium nitrite, and asked Wang Yingde, another migrant to sneak into a snack bar early to throw the chemical.
Sodium nitrite, similar in appearance to salt, is used as an industrial color fixative, but is also used in small amounts as a meat preservative.
Health experts warned that 0.2 grams of sodium nitrite could poison an adult and three grams were enough to kill.