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Racketeering "illegal" vaccines producers arrested
Updated: 2005-12-07 15:52

Police authorities in east China's Jiangsu province have arrested a young farmer on charges of blackmailing several poultry research institutes and companies over allegedly illegal production of bird flu vaccines, the local police source said.

Qiao Songju, a native of Gaoyou city of the province, was suspected of blackmailing 45,500 yuan (US$5,600) and swindling 19,000 yuan (US$2,345) from poultry research institutes and companies which produced bird flu vaccines, by threatening with reports to relevant organs.

The suspect conducted blackmailing since the later half of October, even pretending as an official from the Ministry of Agriculture, the police source said, adding that the provincial public security department in Jiangsu is still investigating the case.

Qiao once reported to the Ministry of Agriculture in October about a possible bird flu outbreak in Tianchang, east China's Anhui province, where his father's friend had a chicken farm.

An expert panel of the ministry confirmed later it was the H5N1 strain of highly pathogenic bird flu and prevented the epidemic from spreading.

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