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Updated March 22nd, 2024 at 08:59 IST

University Student's Frostbite Amputation Fraud Unveiled, Alleged Accomplice Faces Charges

Taiwan student fakes frostbite, faces fraud charges, coerced by friend, attempted $1.3M insurance payout, scheme unraveled by police.

Reported by: Garvit Parashar
University Student's Frostbite Amputation Fraud Scheme Unveiled in Taiwan
University Student's Frostbite Amputation Fraud Scheme Unveiled in Taiwan | Image:Unsplash: Representational
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n a shocking turn of events, a 23-year-old university student in Taiwan, identified only as Zhang, finds himself entangled in a web of deceit after orchestrating an audacious insurance fraud scheme. Alongside his alleged accomplice, former high school friend Liao, Zhang attempted to stage his own severe frostbite in a bid to claim a staggering $1.3 million insurance payout.

 

The intricate plot, meticulously detailed by the Taiwan Criminal Investigation Bureau, unfolded with Zhang immersing his feet in a bucket of dry ice for over ten hours. This calculated move aimed to inflict severe frostbite, setting the stage for his fraudulent claim.

 

Investigators revealed that Liao, grappling with losses from cryptocurrency trading, coerced Zhang into executing the fraudulent scheme. Exploiting Zhang's vulnerability, Liao fabricated tales of impending danger, claiming that gangsters were pursuing him, and convinced Zhang to sign a legal document committing him to pay approximately $800,000.

 

On the night of January 26, 2023, the duo embarked on a journey through Taipei, aiming to stage Zhang's purported frostbite ordeal while riding a motorbike. However, suspicions arose as medical professionals scrutinized Zhang's injuries upon his hospital admission.

 

The lack of shoe or sock imprints on his legs, coupled with the symmetrical nature of the frostbite wounds, raised red flags. Meteorological data debunked any notion of naturally occurring frostbite, with temperatures hovering around 5 degrees Celsius — far from freezing. Authorities deemed such severe frostbite cases highly anomalous in Taiwan's subtropical climate.

 

Despite undergoing amputation below the calf due to the frostbite injuries, Zhang's elaborate ruse unraveled upon police investigation. Subsequent searches unearthed damning evidence, including the plastic bucket used for the chilling act, insurance documents, and eight electronic devices.

 

Zhang and Liao were apprehended on January 17, facing charges related to fraud and facilitating serious injury. Prosecutors disclosed that Zhang had attempted to claim $7,200 from one insurer, an amount slated for confiscation.

 

This brazen attempt at insurance fraud serves as a cautionary tale, highlighting the consequences of deceitful actions and the vigilance of law enforcement in uncovering such schemes.

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Published March 22nd, 2024 at 08:59 IST

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