Two girls in northern China have died after eating yogurt that was poisoned by the head of a rival school, the BBC reports.
A rival kindergarten owner reportedly admitted to the crime, telling authorities that she injected rat poison into the yogurt and asked a man to place the concoctions on a local roadside atop notebooks.
The girls’ grandmother discovered the tainted yogurt on a roadside near their school in Pingshan county and gave it to them when they came home. They began convulsing and foaming at the mouth shortly after consuming the poison on April 24, according to Xinhua News Agency.
Hebei province police said that they believed the incident stemmed from two schools competing to boost enrollment.
This is the latest in a recent series of disturbing crimes in which tainted food and medicine were given to children. One of the worst scandals happened in 2008 when six children died and thousands became ill after ingesting baby milk formula contaminated with melamine, an industrial chemical contained in plastics. The chemical had allegedly been added illegally to increase the appearance of the formula’s protein content.
BBC's Beijing correspondent Damian Grammaticas said in a report that the string of incidents has resulted in backlash from consumers worried that the state prioritizes profits over health.
Hebei police detained the school owner and the man she claimed had been her accomplice, the Associated Press reports.