Public Skeptical About Reasons for Arrest of Poisoned-Dumpling Suspect
After two years of denying any Chinese involvement, Beijing has announced that a suspect has been arrested for deliberately poisoning frozen dumplings exported to Japan at the end of 2007. The poisoned dumplings had sickened 10 people in Japan in early 2008.
However, details of the case have only raised doubts among the public in both China and Japan about the motives and timing behind the arrest.
The Chinese regime informed the Japanese Embassy in Beijing about the arrest of Lu Yueting, a 36-year-old former part-time worker at Tiyang Food Company in Shijiazhuang in China's northern Hebei Province, according to Japanese media.
The suspect confessed to using syringes to inject the pesticide methamidophos into the dumpling packets because the company paid him low wages and rejected his application to become a permanent staff member, according to the report.
Japanese national newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun speculates the arrest is “paving the way” for Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama to visit China at the opening of the Shanghai Expo on April 30. Yukio had worked on improving ties with Beijing after he was elected six months ago. He immediately welcomed news of the arrest and praised the hard work of Chinese police, according to a BBC report.
Up until now, Beijing has repeatedly denied the possibility that the dumpling packets were poisoned in China. Japanese police, however, pointed out that the pesticide discovered inside the dumplings was rarely used in Japan, and one of the poisoned dumpling packets was intact before inspection.
The standoff angered the Japanese public and led Japanese consumers to boycott Chinese frozen food. Diplomatic relations between the two countries were also affected.
On one of China’s less-controlled Internet forums, netizens also questioned the claim by Chinese police that they were able to recover two syringes inside the sewer of the food company two years after the incident.