Man nabbed in extortion threat to taint food in Taipei
Sat, Mar 27, 2010
The China Post/Asia News Network

TAIPEI, Taiwan - The police arrested a man Thursday evening for allegedly making blackmail calls to a local food products company in Taipei City, local media reported.

Reporters said the police caught the suspect, surnamed Hsieh, in a public phone booth on Zhongxiao West Road as he was making another blackmail call to the renowned company, having made several earlier in the day.

Hsieh, 50, asked the company for US$5 million (S$7.014 million), local media said, or he would drug their products.

Police said Hsieh claimed that he randomly decided to make the phone calls and blackmail the company because he has been unemployed for a long time.

When Hsieh was arrested, he only had NT$50 on him, officials said.

According to the police, Hsieh has previously been involved in various crimes, including fraud and robbery, for the past two decades.

He has been in and out of prison several times already, they continued.

Local reporters said Hsieh seemed to be suffering from mental disorders.

The Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) said actual poisoning did not take place, so there is no need for the public to panic.

The well-known local food products company said they received threatening calls from Hsieh Thursday afternoon.

CIB officers who were assigned to this case bought time by attempting to bargain the ransom down to US$2 million.

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