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Police probe new lead on woman linked to Australian student's poisoning

05/20/2024 06:07 PM
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Image from Unsplash for illustrative purpose only
Image from Unsplash for illustrative purpose only

Taipei, May 20 (CNA) Taipei police on Monday said they are examining new information about the death of a British national whose Taiwanese widow is under investigation for the suspected poisoning of an Australian student in Taiwan last year.

The case relates to an April 2023 incident in which Alex Shorey, a 24-year-old Australian exchange student, was hospitalized in Taipei for what was later determined to be poisoning by the rodenticide "superwarfarin."

During questioning, Shorey's Taiwanese girlfriend, surnamed Yang (楊), admitted mixing rat poison into a glass of juice, but denied that she had intentionally poisoned him, saying that she had intended to drink it herself.

Shorey was ultimately evacuated back to Australia on May 3 last year, while Yang was referred to Taipei prosecutors earlier this year to be investigated on suspicion of aggravated assault.

A new lead in the case, however, came in January, when a British national came to Taiwan looking for information about his older brother, who had moved to Taiwan with his wife several years earlier and subsequently lost contact with his family.

Using the personal information provided by the man, police discovered that his brother had been married to Yang, but had died in January 2023, just months before Shorey was poisoned, police said.

Moreover, Yang's husband died with symptoms of poisoning similar to those suffered by Shorey, police said, leading them to notify prosecutors given the possibility of a connection between the two cases.

According to local news reports, doctors who treated the British man suspected that he may have ingested rat poison, but still allowed his body to be released to Yang without ordering a forensic autopsy. Yang subsequently had the body cremated.

Following the revelations, Taipei prosecutors asked the Taipei Police Department's Zhongshan Precinct to open an investigation into the man's death. The precinct said on Monday that it had conducted searches in connection with the case earlier this month.

Yang has not been charged in either case.

(By Lin Chang-shun, Huang Li-yun and Matthew Mazzetta)

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