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Student used dry ice to get frostbite, got legs amputated for $1.3 million insurance payout

The student immersed his feet in a bucket of dry ice for over ten hours in an attempt to inflict severe frostbite that led to amputation of his legs.

March 20, 2024 / 02:05 PM IST
The duo face charges of fraud and aiding and abetting serious injury. (Representational)

The duo face charges of fraud and aiding and abetting serious injury. (Representational)

A university student in Taiwan finds himself in hot water after attempting an audacious insurance fraud scheme involving the deliberate frostbite amputation of his own legs. The 23-year-old student, identified solely by his surname Zhang, and his friend who allegedly instigated him, now face charges of fraud and aiding and abetting serious injury, according to local prosecutors.

The intricate plot, as detailed by the Taiwan Criminal Investigation Bureau, involved Zhang immersing his feet in a bucket of dry ice for over ten hours in an attempt to inflict severe frostbite. This calculated move aimed to qualify him for a staggering $1.3 million insurance payout.

Investigators revealed that Zhang's accomplice, a former high school friend named Liao, coerced him into executing the fraudulent scheme. Liao, grappling with losses from cryptocurrency trading, allegedly duped Zhang into signing a legal document committing him to pay approximately $800,000. Exploiting Zhang's vulnerability, Liao fabricated tales of impending danger, claiming that gangsters were pursuing him.

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.

Furthermore, meteorological data debunked any notion of naturally occurring frostbite, with temperatures hovering around 5 degrees Celsius — far from freezing. Authorities said the anomaly of such severe frostbite cases in Taiwan's subtropical climate.

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

Zhang and Liao were caught 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.

Moneycontrol News
first published: Mar 20, 2024 01:38 pm

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