Chinese police detain three after toxic parcels kill one, sicken nine

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 December, 2013, 4:48am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 December, 2013, 4:48am

Police in Shandong province detained three suspects after parcels tainted by a toxic chemical killed one and made nine others sick.

A man in Guangrao county died of methyl fluoroacetate poisoning after his family received shoes that were tainted by the chemical, which had leaked from another parcel transported by the same truck in late November.

His wife, daughter and two other recipients of deliveries in the cities of Shouguang and Jiaozhou became sick after coming into contact with tainted parcels.

Five workers of the delivery company, a franchise of Shanghai YTO Express, became ill because of the leakage, Guangrao police said.

Guangrao police have detained the franchise's boss, the boss of a drug company who was the recipient of the toxic fluid, and a person from a Hubei chemical plant from which the chemical parcel was sent, police told the South China Morning Post by telephone yesterday.

According to a statement from the Shandong Provincial Postal Administration on Friday, "a number of recipients" suffered multiple reactions after receiving their parcels, with one of them dying.

It said the chemical leaked out when workers unloaded parcels from a truck on the night of November 28. The delivery company isolated the parcels that night after five workers exhibited symptoms of having been poisoned. But the parcels were delivered the next morning.

It said local authorities had suspended the business licence of the franchise in Hubei province, and fined the one in Shandong 28,000 yuan (HK$35,000). YTO Express said in statement on Friday that the sender of the chemical package had told the courier the parcel was harmless and non-toxic.