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China sentences three to death over hotel fire
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Nov 13, 2011

A court in China has handed down the death penalty to three people for setting fire to a bar which then spread to a budget hotel, killing 11 people and leaving two others injured, state media reported.

The court in the northeastern province of Jilin found the three guilty of arson and sentenced them to death Saturday for setting fire to a basement bar in Tonghua city in May due to a row they had with the establishment's owner.

The fire spread to a karaoke bar and later to the guestrooms of a budget hotel chain, killing 11 hotel guests and firemen who had come to the rescue, the official Xinhua news agency said late Saturday.

According to a Xinhua report on May 1, the victims died of smoke inhalation from the fire, which also caused 1.8 million yuan ($280,000) in economic losses.

Qiao Shuping, deputy president of the Tonghua City People's Hospital, was quoted as saying at the time that the victims' main symptoms were dizziness, nausea and sore throats.

"Almost none of them suffered burns," Qiao said.

The court also found another two suspects guilty of arson on Saturday, but it was unclear what sentence they were given. The report did not identify any of the defendants.

Tonghua is an industrial city by the North Korean border.

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