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14 more arrested in Hebei milk scandal
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Police in Hebei province have arrested 14 more people in connection with the tainted milk scandal, bringing the total arrests in the province to 27, Xinhua reported yesterday.

The suspects are alleged to have produced, sold or added melamine into fresh milk to falsify protein tests.

Cao Aiping, deputy chief of the Hebei provincial public security department, said 91 people had also been questioned in connection with the scandal.

The chemical was first found in baby milk powder produced by Sanlu Group, based in Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei.

Cao said police have cracked down on underground plants that produce melamine and their sales networks in the province. In a 10-day crackdown in late September, Hebei police also confiscated more than 380 kg of melamine, he said.

Police in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, where dairy majors Yili and Mengniu are based, have also arrested six people suspected of producing and selling melamine.

Meanwhile, Hebei acting governor Hu Chunhua has criticized some local officials for being "indifferent and negligent" on food safety, Xinhua reported yesterday.

The province has started a month-long campaign to overhaul local food and drug industries starting Tuesday, he said. Hu urged local government officials and all enterprises to learn from the "painful" lesson of Sanlu.

A number of local officials have been removed from their posts, including Party chief of Shijiazhuang Wu Xianguo, mayor Ji Chuntang, and deputy mayor Zhang Fawang.

The city's quality supervision chief, food and drug administrator, and livestock and aquatic products bureau head were also sacked.

(China Daily October 9, 2008)

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