By Carrie Ho
SHANGHAI, Jun (Reuters) - Four people were sentenced to prison on Thursday for producing and selling melamine-tainted milk powder in north China's Hebei Province, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
Cui Weizhong, legal representative of Yongxing Dairy Co., was given a five-year sentence and a 150,000 yuan fine for blending 500 kg of melamine-tainted milk powder into the company's products over the past two years.
Liu Dan, a company lab technician, was sentenced to jail for three years and given a 100,000-yuan fine for assisting in the production of the tainted milk powder.
Dang Yao and Mi Pengyong were fined 10,000 yuan each and sentenced to three years and 18 months in jail, respectively, for selling the contaminated milk powder to Cui in 2009.
Yongxing Dairy Co. received a 250,000 yuan fine.
In 2008, at least six children died and nearly 300,000 fell ill from consuming powdered milk laced with melamine, an industrial chemical added to low quality or diluted milk to fool inspectors checking for protein levels.
Despite large-scale recalls and repeated vows to get tough, authorities continue to uncover cases of melamine in milk powder.
(Reporting by Carrie Ho; editing by Philippa Fletcher)