Taiwan amputee charged with fraud

2011-11-29 16:40

Taipei - Taiwan prosecutors said on Tuesday they had charged a man with insurance fraud after they found holes in his story stating doctors in China had to amputate his hand following a gruesome robbery.

Taiwanese Hu Chi-yang, 59, is accused of defrauding two insurance companies, a spokesperson for the prosecutors' office in Taipei told AFP. A Taipei court released Hu early Tuesday on bail of Tw$150 000.

He is barred from leaving the island. Judges had sought bail of Tw$700,000, but Hu said he could not afford it.

Hu was arrested in Taiwan after Chinese police investigating the alleged robbery concluded his injuries were self-inflicted - accusations he denies.

"This was absolutely not self-inflicted," Hu, whose left arm now ends in a stump, told a press conference on Tuesday in north Taiwan's Taoyuan city.

"May I lose my life if I ever tell a lie," he said, raising his right hand.

‘Robbers cut hand’

The case emerged earlier this month when Hu told Taiwanese media that he had been attacked by three men in the southeast Chinese province of Fujian.

He said they robbed him of about $600 in cash and inflicted deep cuts to his left hand in an attempt to steal his ring and Rolex watch, forcing the amputation after Chinese doctors told him it was too damaged to save.

Hu then complained that Chinese police refused to allow him to take the severed hand back to Taiwan, preventing him from using it as evidence.

He had allegedly bought insurance policies worth Tw$31m from two different companies before travelling to China.

At a news conference on Monday, police in Fujian reportedly said the cuts were precise and that blood collected at the alleged crime scene contained traces of anaesthetic.

According to the state-owned China News Service, the police said they also found Hu's fingerprints on a knife dumped nearby and had evidence that he bought it from a local shop.