Following their arrest last year for a 1997 poisoning that killed seven children, two kung fu coaches in China were given death sentences on Monday, according to a court.
The men planted rat poison in food at a martial arts school in China’s eastern Anhui Province due to a business conflict with its boss, and then evaded prosecution for nearly 26 years.
Defendants Fu Zejie and Zhu Zulin were each “sentenced to death for the crime of poisoning” by the Intermediate People’s Court in the city of Ma’anshan, according to an online statement.
The court said that in “around 1994”, Zhu and another man surnamed Peng entered into a dispute while running competing martial arts schools in the area.
Fu took up a job coaching at Peng’s facility in 1996, then “gradually became dissatisfied with Peng… due to trivial matters”, the court said.
The two defendants then conspired to retaliate for their grudges by pouring two packets of rat poison into the food at Peng’s school on June 29, 1997.
The next morning, more than 130 people at the school experienced vomiting and convulsions after eating their breakfast, state-run outlet China Daily reported.
The poison killed seven students.
Although the two culprits, Fu in the eastern province of Fujian and Zhu in the southwest province of Guizhou, were recognized by the authorities as suspects, they were not taken into custody until May 2023.
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