De­liv­ery firms urged to con­duct safety checks

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - NATION - By LIU KUN in Wuhan, ZHAO RUIXUE in Ji­nan and JIN HAIXING in Bei­jing

The State Post Bureau is­sued ur­gent safety re­minders to ex­press de­liv­ery busi­nesses on Sun­day, af­ter a man was killed and nine oth­ers sick­ened by parcels that car­ried toxic chem­i­cals.

In a state­ment on its web­site, the bureau re­it­er­ated that all postal and de­liv­ery com­pa­nies must have their couri­ers in­spect parcels in front of the senders.

Var­i­ous checks will be con­ducted to en­sure that de­liv­ery com­pa­nies fol­low rules and refuse clients who do not let couri­ers check parcels, or de­cline to of­fer re­quested doc­u­ments and iden­ti­fi­ca­tion.

Ed­i­to­rial,

Postal and de­liv­ery com­pa­nies could face se­vere penal­ties for fail­ing to com­ply, in­clud­ing sus­pend­ing busi­ness op­er­a­tions and re­vok­ing their busi­ness li­censes, the bureau said.

Me­dia re­ported last week that Liu Xingliang, a man in Shan­dong prov­ince, died on Nov 29 af­ter re­ceiv­ing a pair of shoes de­liv­ered by YTO Ex­press Co, a pri­vate de­liv­ery com­pany in Shang­hai. Nine oth­ers — Liu’s two fam­ily mem­bers, five de­liv­ery­men and two re­cip­i­ents — had been sick­ened by con­tam­i­nated parcels de­liv­ered by the same com­pany.

In­ves­ti­ga­tions found that 154 parcels in the same ve­hi­cle had been con­tam­i­nated by a par­cel con­tain­ing toxic chem­i­cals from Hubei prov­ince, the Shan­dong postal bureau said.

On Satur­day, the head of a chem­i­cal plant in Hubei, sur­named Yang, was de­tained by po­lice. He was trans­ferred to Shan­dong prov­ince on Sun­day for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Po­lice found that on Nov 27, Yang’s fac­tory plant, a branch of Jing­men Xiongx­ing Chem­i­cal Co, sent sam­ples of methyl flu­o­roac­etate, a highly toxic chem­i­cal, to a medicine fac­tory in Shan­dong prov­ince through a YTO-af­fil­i­ated com­pany.

Methyl flu­o­roac­etate is on the list of sub­stances that can­not be de­liv­ered, ac­cord­ing to reg­u­la­tions. But the chem­i­cal plant claimed it was safe when giv­ing it to the ex­press com­pany.

Ac­cord­ing to a po­lice re­lease, a deputy head of Jing­men Xiongx­ing Chem­i­cal Co who was iden­ti­fied only by his sur­name, Huang, ad­mit­ted that it was the third time that the plant had sent methyl flu­o­roac­etate through the de­liv­ery com­pany.

YTO apol­o­gized on its mi­cro blog on Satur­day to the vic­tims of the case, and said it will use a le­gal process to pro­tect its own in­ter­ests as the chem­i­cal fac­tory did not tell the truth of send­ing toxic chem­i­cals.

Its staff had per­formed rou­tine checks “ac­cord­ing to com­pany rules”, it said. Even af­ter YTO found the leak­age and in­formed the chem­i­cal com­pany of the leak­age, the chem­i­cal plant claimed that the de­liv­ered par­cel was non­toxic and harm­less, YTO said on Satur­day.

The YTO-af­fil­i­ated com­pany in Weifang in Shan­dong that was re­spon­si­ble for the de­liv­ery was fined 28,000 yuan ($4,610) by au­thor­i­ties.

The case has spurred wor­ries among con­sumers. In China, an in­creas­ing num­ber of peo­ple shop online, and their or­ders are de­liv­ered by couri­ers. In 2012, the coun­try’s ex­press de­liv­ery com­pa­nies de­liv­ered 5.7 bil­lion parcels, an an­nual in­crease of 33.7 per­cent.

Yue Shen­shan, lawyer and part­ner at Bei­jing Yuecheng Law Firm, said that in this case, the per­son who was re­spon­si­ble for the chem­i­cal plant is sus­pected of neg­li­gent homi­cide, as the com­pany should have known the dan­gers of the par­cel but de­nied what was de­liv­ered af­ter the leak­age.

The de­liv­ery com­pany should also be pun­ished as in this case, the de­liv­ery of dan­ger­ous items has had se­ri­ous con­se­quences, he said. Con­tact the writ­ers at jin­haix­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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