Poisoned dumplings kill 4, leave 8 sick
A man has been arrested for spiking a business lunch with rat poison, killing four people and leaving eight sick.
The 12 victims, most from Sichuan Province, started twitching and suffering nose bleeds after eating dumplings at about 2 pm on Thursday at one of their apartments in a residential building in Fuyang, Anhui Province.
Of the eight ill, six were still in a critical condition, said doctors with the Fuyang No 1 People's Hospital.
Analysis of the dumplings shows they were heavily laced with a deadly rat poison known as dushuqiang in Chinese, a chemical that attacks the nervous system.
Fifty-eight-year-old Wang Xianfu has admitting poisoning the dumpling filling and sending it with the wrappers to the victims, who had persuaded him to join a cosmetics pyramid sales business early this year.
Wang, who also came from Sichuan, said he had business disputes with the victims and was desperate to recoup losses of more than 10,000 yuan (US$1,200).
He said he bought the poison two years ago in Chongqing Municipality to kill rats, and used what he had left over in Fuyang.
The poison, which was made with tetramine, has been banned since 1991, but is still widely available in the countryside. There is no effective antidote.
Wang faces death penalty if convicted.
Pyramid selling is illegal in China. According to the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, between September 2003 and October last year, 2,797 illegal direct-selling cases were investigated and dealt with by offices at all levels, with more than 200,000 people involved.
(China Daily 07/18/2005 page3)