Tainted milk scandal: Chinese couple held for poisoning | world | Hindustan Times
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Tainted milk scandal: Chinese couple held for poisoning

world Updated: Apr 12, 2011 15:32 IST

A Chinese couple has been charged with intentional poisoning in the recent tainted milk scandal in which three children were dead and 36 others fell ill in northwest China's Gansu Province.

The government of Pingliang City, where the incident occurred, partially revealed the identities of the two suspects at a press conference on Monday.

Thirty-nine people in Pingliang were sent to the hospital after drinking nitrite-tainted milk on Thursday.

The three children who died were below 2 years of age and the youngest was only 36 days old.

Investigators found that nitrite, an industrial salt that can be deadly, had been added to fresh milk from two dairies.

The tainted milk incident was a case of intentional poisoning and they had taken the suspects into custody, police said on Sunday.

The suspects, a man with the surname Wu and his wife, surnamed Ma, are residents of Jingtan Village in Liuhu Township of Kongtong District, the city government spokesman, Wu Zhentu was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.

As of yesterday afternoon, 31 people have been discharged from the hospital, and the remaining five people are in stable condition, Wu added.

The spokesman did not disclose the motive for the crime at yesterday's news briefing, but according to villagers who live near the farms, vicious competition among farm owners might be involved.