Xuzhou Police on Tuesday announced the capture of a man thought to have illegally sold thallium to a college student, who later used it to poison three classmates by injecting the toxic compound into their drinking cups, Nanjing Morning Post reported yesterday.
29-year-old Chen tried to hide after hearing about the poisoning tragedy in Xuzhou but was tracked and arrested by police in Guangzhou on July 12, capital of south China's Guangdong Province.
He is accused of having sold 250 grams of thallium nitrate to Chang, a student at the China University of Mining and Technology (CUMT), who injected around 2ml of diluted thallium into the drinking cups of three classmates on May 29.
"He is still in police custody and probably will be charged, but the legal procedures may take some time," Liu Zunxu, vice director of CUMT Publicity Department told China.org.cn.
"The three poisoned students are still hospitalized and recovering well. Doctors at Beijing Chaoyang Hospital have allowed the two of them receiving treatment there to go home and recover. However, the students have selected to find hospitals in their hometowns for further treatment," a CUMT official told China.org.cn today on condition of anonymity.
Chen said that while he worked for the Tang Chemical Plant in Deyang City of Sichuan Province from 2000 to 2004, he was contacted by Qi, a woman who was seeking to purchase thallium from foreign companies for manufacturing. She received a free sample of 700 grams of thallium, which she gave to Chen in 2006 after leaving it unused.
Chen taught himself to produce thallium compounds, including 1 kilogram of thallium sulfate, which was sold to Tang, a manager at the Dapeng Daming Chemical Plant in Chengdu, and 250 grams of thallium nitrate which was obtained by Chang.
Chen will face charges of illegally providing hazardous materials.
(China.org.cn by Zhang Yunxing, July 12, 2007)