Taiwan police are searching for four suspects after more than 1,000 cockroaches were hurled at a police banquet on Monday.
The banquet was attended by almost 700 people, including the police commissioners of Taipei and New Taipei, and some legislators.
It was unlikely the incident was targeted at police, but more probable to be linked with debt disputes involving the restaurant’s owner, said Taipei Police Commissioner Chen Jia-chang.
The suspects were likely to be connected to a local gang, he said.
Two men had arrived at the venue with a bucket of cockroaches and started tossing them around without speaking, a restaurant employee said.
Wang Hsin-i, a legislator who arrived minutes after the incident, said the cockroaches were all over the floor. “It was very scary,” she said.
After the incident, a man who sells cockroaches as fish food said he had received an inquiry for over 1,000 cockroaches on Sunday. However, the transaction fell through, and he had passed on the messages to the police.
A 17-year-old female suspect was arrested on Tuesday, but four men remained on the run, police said. She told police that the debt in question amounted to NT$15.5 million (US$555,000). The four men were understood to be planning to turn themselves in on Tuesday night.
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je said on Tuesday that violence would not be tolerated and the authorities would work on finding the suspects as soon as possible.
Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang said gang activities should be eliminated, and it was the government’s responsibility to provide people with a safe environment.
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