Court gives sentences of up to 20 years in prison for collapse of hotel in Fujian that killed 29
Published: Oct 19, 2021 01:03 AM
Law. Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

A total of 20 people, including the hotel manager and public officials, were sentenced to prison terms from four to 20 years on Monday, by the Quanzhou Intermediate People's Court, for the collapse of a hotel in Quanzhou, in East China's Fujian Province. 

Of the 20 sentenced, 13 were private citizens and seven public officials. They were found guilty of forging documents of state organs, forging the seals of companies and enterprises, providing false certification documents and offering bribes.

The court found that Yang Jinqiang, the manager of the hotel, violated state regulations and, to seek improper economic benefits, employed unqualified personnel without legal building procedures and illegally constructed and altered the steel structure of the building, which was the main cause of the accident. At the same time, the relevant responsible persons and the contracted operator of the Xinjia Hotel failed to fulfill their safety management duties and did not take emergency evacuation and other measures in a timely manner after discovering the major safety hazards.

Some staff members deliberately provided false supporting documents for the hotel. And some of the Public Security Bureau and Fire Brigade personnel committed crimes like abuse of power, neglect of duty, bribery, bending the law for personal gain and forging documents of state organs.

Yang was sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined 2.2 million yuan ($342,200). The other 12 defendants were sentenced to prison terms ranging from two and a half to 13 years. Seven public officials were sentenced to prison terms ranging from four to six years and eight months.

The building of the Xinjia Hotel in Quanzhou, Fujian Province, which was then used as a COVID-19 quarantine center, collapsed on March 7 due to illegal construction, alteration and reinforcement. The collapse left 29 dead and 50 injured. 

An investigation team dispatched by the State Council identified the collapse as a major workplace accident caused by illegal construction and renovation. The building had serious problems with its construction and approval for use according to previous results from an investigation conducted by local authorities. 

In July 2020, 49 officials were punished for the incident, including the city's mayor.