KUALA LUMPUR, May 6 ― Five people were arrested yesterday for releasing 1,000 cockroaches in a Taipei restaurant to collect a debt.
Police said the suspects, four men and a woman, were arrested in two separate raids at New Taipei and Taipei on Tuesday, Taipei City Police Department Zhongshan Precinct chief Hsu Sung-chia was quoted as saying by Taiwan portal Focus Taiwan.
Interior Minister Hsu Kuo-yung said the suspects face possible charges of coercion, offences against personal liberty and organised crime.
According to Taipei police, two men dressed in black had entered the restaurant and threw more than 1,000 small cockroaches ― the type used as fish food ― into the air near a counter on the second floor at 7.24pm Monday.
When police arrived at the scene three minutes later, the suspects had fled, one on a scooter, the others in a car.
Police identified the five suspects, between 20 and 26 years, from footage provided by surveillance cameras, before tracking and arresting them.
Following their arrest, one of the suspects said they were directed to release the cockroaches because the restaurant owner owed NT$15 million (RM2.2 million) to “certain people.”
The suspect told police that he had gambling debts and was told he would receive 30 pe rcent of the NT$15 million if he collected the debt from the restaurant owner.
He said they spent NT$10,000 (RM1,473) to buy the cockroaches online at an aquarium shop in New Taipei's Banqiao District and put them into three bags before driving to the restaurant and releasing them.