Headmistress in Hebei held as two girls die after eating poisoned yoghurt

Principal arrested after pupils from a rival kindergarten die from drinking poisoned yogurt

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 03 May, 2013, 5:41pm

The headmistress of a kindergarten in Pingshan county, Hebei, has been arrested over the fatal poisoning of two girls at another kindergarten.

The girls - cousins Ren Xinyi , five, and Ren Zhaoning , six - collapsed on the night of April 24 after drinking yogurt contaminated with rat poison. Xinyi was certified dead after being rushed to hospital, while Zhaoning died on Tuesday, the local government said in a press release issued yesterday.

It said the girls' grandmother, Ren Shuting , had told police that she took the girls to the Lianghe Zhongxin Kindergarten on April 24 and found a plastic bag containing a pencil, a notebook and the yogurt on the way. She took the plastic bag home.

The three of them drank the yogurt after school and were poisoned, the statement said.

The Hebei Youth Daily quoted the grandmother as saying that she screamed for help after the girls fainted, and neighbours took the girls to a nearby clinic.

Zhang Weidong, a doctor at the clinic, said the girls had suffered serious spasms and it was decided they should be sent to hospital, the newspaper said.

The grandmother suffered an irritated throat and stayed in hospital for a few days, the report said.

The local government statement said police had arrested the headmistress of another kindergarten, a 39-year-old woman surnamed Shi, and a staff member surnamed Yang, 51, in connection with the case.

It said Shi and Yang had confessed to their crimes. Yang placed the plastic bag at a spot where children studying at the Lianghe Zhongxin Kindergarten would pass by, after Shi and Yang plotted to "take revenge" on the kindergarten. The statement did not give details about the dispute or identify the kindergarten where the suspects worked.

The kindergartens could not be reached for comment.

Internet users were horrified by the case. "How can such a devilish person become the headmaster of a kindergarten?" one microblogger asked.

Another said: "The head just wanted to grab as much profit as possible. They don't have any conscience at all."

"These people just forget honour at the sight of money. They are just monsters," another microblogger said.