Poisoning: student held

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 June, 2007, 12:00am

A university student in Jiangsu province has been arrested for allegedly poisoning classmates.

Three students from China University of Mining and Technology in Xuzhou needed hospital treatment for food poisoning a few days after eating in the university canteen on May 31.

They were diagnosed with thallium poisoning, New Express Daily reported.

Investigators found excessive levels of the highly toxic metal on their bowls. Thallium is colourless, odourless and deadly in doses as small as one gram. It can damage the nervous system and kidneys.

A student surnamed Chang was detained. He had dinner with the three but there was no trace of thallium on his bowl.

Chang confessed to poisoning his classmates because he felt they were treating him as an outcast. He said he wanted to 'let them taste the torture of being poisoned'.

Chang was said to have diluted the thallium with water, invited the victims to dinner and put the poison into their food when they were away from the table.

Police said Chang and the three victims were friends until they had a minor dispute.

Investigators were still trying to find out how Chang obtained the thallium.