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2 supermarket employees charged over fatal stampede
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Two supermarket employees have been charged with negligence over a stampede triggered by a cooking oil sales promotion that killed three people and injured 31 in Chongqing, southwest China in November.

Duan Chengwei, a loss prevention employee at the Shapingba outlet of the French retail giant Carrefour who was in charge of security at the outlet's entrance, and loss prevention manager Xiang Xuexin were prosecuted by the Shapingba District procuratorate in the southwestern municipality.

The court will hear the case in the near future, according to the Chongqing Evening News.

An investigation revealed the stampede happened when Duan tried to stop a crowd rushing to buy the discounted oil. He tried to limit the amount of people entering the store through using a table to partly block the entrance. The move backfired and caused a stampede.

Xiang was aware of the use of table but did nothing to defuse the hidden danger.

The investigation indicated the store was responsible, both for its mishandling of the situation and lack of accident prevention measures.

The Carrefour outlet was fined 500,000 yuan (73,100 U.S. dollars).

The incident took place when a three-day promotion was launched at the store to celebrate its 10th anniversary in the city. It offered an 11.5 yuan savings from the original price of 51.4 yuan for a five-liter bottle of edible oil. When the store opened, a huge crowd rushed in and the stampede began.

The Ministry of Commerce issued an emergency directive banning time-limited sales promotions following the incident.

(Xinhua News Agency July 11, 2008)

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