Debt dispute allegedly behind cockroach attack at Taipei restaurant

05/04/2021 01:30 PM
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A copy of a photo taken at the scene.
A copy of a photo taken at the scene.

Taipei, May 4 (CNA) A debt dispute between a restaurant owner and a criminal ring may be behind a bizarre cockroach attack at the Taipei restaurant Monday night while it was hosting a police gathering, according to Taipei Police Commissioner Chen Jia-chang (陳嘉昌).

Speaking Tuesday, Chen said the preliminary findings of the police investigation into the case at G House Taipei suggest that the unusual act may have been directed at the restaurant's owner, who allegedly owes money to the Bamboo Union, an organized crime ring.

Chen said the suspects were Bamboo Union members, and that there was no evidence indicating that the cockroach attack was targeted at police officers present at the restaurant.

He pledged to quickly arrests those involved and present details of the case.

Chen condemned the behavior and called it an act of violence, similar to attacking people with excrement or paint, adding that those convicted will be dealt with in accordance with law.

Yu Yung-lien (余永廉), deputy chief of the Zhongshan Police sub- station, said two men in black broke into the restaurant and tossed more than 1,000 small roaches -- the type fed to fish -- into the air near a counter on the second floor at 7:24 p.m. Monday.

By the time police arrived at the scene three minutes after receiving a report, the two men had fled on a scooter, he said.

Based on footage from surveillance cameras, police have targeted five suspects, four men and a woman, he said.

Two of them were responsible for dumping the roaches in the restaurant, two were on the lookout outside and one was a driver.

They left the location in different directions and different vehicles to avoid police surveillance, but Yu said the police will arrest them.

As to what motivated the incident, a task force set up shortly after it happened said it was unlikely to be related to Chen's presence or the police gathering, attended by over 700 people, because Chen entered the restaurant after the roaches had been scattered near the second-floor counter.

Police said they suspect the incident may have to do with unsettled debts between the two sides and vowed that they will continue to track down the person who ordered the attack and others involved in the case.

(By Flor Wang and Huang Li-yun)

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