Chinese official arrested over poisoned cat meat hotpot
A FORESTRY official in southern China has been arrested on suspicion of murdering his billionaire business associate by poisoning a cat meat hotpot with a toxic herb.
Long Liyuan, 49, is reported to have died suddenly on 23 December after sharing a dish of slow-boiled cat meat stew at a business lunch with the suspect Huang Guang.
Huang is alleged to have left the meal to make a telephone call and then sneaked into the restaurant kitchen to poison their food - although it is not clear why he would poison a meal he then went on to eat.
A third man at the table, Huang Wen, a friend of the dead man, apparently commented that the dish tasted “more bitter” than usual but the suspect insisted that this was a sign that the stew was a “good tonic”.
All three men were hospitalised but Long, the CEO of a local forestry company who consumed the most, went into cardiac arrest and died.
The restaurant owner was initially detained by police on suspicion of serving unsanitary food but Long’s family suspected foul play and offered a reward of 100,000 yuan (£10,000) for information about their relative’s death.
Police have since found reason to believe that Huang poisoned the dish with gelsemium elegans - a lethal flowering plant found in forests in China, according to the local paper, the Southern Metropolis Daily - and arrested him on Monday. The two men were reported to be in a dispute over money.